Tags: LT | Ecuador | Referendum

Current, Former Presidents at Odds in Ecuador Referendum

Current, Former Presidents at Odds in Ecuador Referendum

Sunday, 04 February 2018 01:37 PM

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A battle between Ecuador's current president and his predecessor played out Sunday in a referendum that would limit presidents to two terms — a restriction that seems aimed directly at former President Rafael Correa.

The measure was backed by new President Lenin Moreno, who had been a protégé of Correa until taking office last year. They've been feuding bitterly almost ever since.

Correa has been upset by Moreno's moves to build bridges to business leaders and others who had been at odds with the previous leader, as well as the recent corruption conviction of another Correa ally, former Vice President Jorge Glas.

Sunday's referendum includes seven questions. One would give Moreno more authority over a council that determines who can lead some of the nation's most important institutions. Another would bar officials convicted of corruption from seeking office — a clause that apparently would apply to Glas.

Another would strengthen restrictions on mining by banning it entirely in protected areas, indigenous territory and cities.

Most of the measures are projected to pass, backed by the popular new president, despite Correa's campaign against them.

The referendum runs against a trend in several Latin American nations, where leaders have pushed for constitutional amendments that would let them stay in power longer, sometimes indefinitely.

In Bolivia, a court recently paved the way for President Evo Morales to run for a fourth term despite a voter referendum opposing it. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is running for office in an election that opposition leaders consider illegitimate. And in Honduras, President Juan Orlando Hernandez was recently sworn in for a second term after a Supreme Court ruled that a constitutional ban on re-election violated his rights.

Correa governed from 2007 to 2017, winning the loyalty of millions of poor Ecuadoreans with generous health and social programs and lauded for brining stability.

But the combative leader feuded with the business community, the news media, environmentalists and indigenous groups, pushing through measures that consolidated executive power and expanded mineral exploration in indigenous territories.

After leaving office, he moved to his wife's native Belgium, but recently returned to rally against the man he now calls a "traitor."

Moreno, a paraplegic since being shot in 1998, is enjoying a near 70 percent approval rating.

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A battle between Ecuador's current president and his predecessor played out Sunday in a referendum that would limit presidents to two terms - a restriction that seems aimed directly at former President Rafael Correa.The measure was backed by new President Lenin Moreno, who...
LT,Ecuador,Referendum
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2018-37-04
Sunday, 04 February 2018 01:37 PM
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