Ecuadorian Referendum on President’s Powers and Re-election Bid


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Ecuadorians are gearing up to cast their votes in an upcoming referendum that holds significance for the country’s center-right president, Daniel Noboa. The referendum, scheduled for Sunday, will determine whether President Noboa will be granted expanded powers to address the escalating issue of drug-related gang violence. Additionally, the referendum will serve as a litmus test for the president’s popularity ahead of his potential re-election bid next year.

President’s Stance on Gang Violence

President Daniel Noboa, a 36-year-old scion of a prominent banana empire, assumed office in November amidst a backdrop of surging drug-related gang violence in the country. In response to the escalating crisis, in January, Noboa declared an “internal armed conflict” and authorized the military to take decisive action against the approximately two dozen identified gangs, which the government has classified as “terrorist organizations.” This move empowered the military to conduct street patrols and intervene in gang-controlled prisons.

Controversial Actions

Recent actions by President Noboa have sparked controversy both domestically and internationally. Notably, the president ordered the arrest of a former Ecuadorean vice president, who had sought refuge at the Mexican Embassy in Quito to evade a prison sentence. This move was criticized as a breach of the international treaty safeguarding the sanctity of diplomatic premises. President Noboa justified the arrest by asserting that the politician, a convicted criminal, did not warrant diplomatic immunity.

Political Implications

Analysts view the deployment of the military and the high-profile arrest of the former vice president as strategic maneuvers by President Noboa to demonstrate his uncompromising stance against crime and impunity. The outcome of the referendum on Sunday will provide insight into the level of public support for the president’s tough approach to combating gang violence and maintaining law and order in the country.

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