Constitutional Amendments Mark Major Setback for Democracy in Ecuador
In response to the approval of 16 amendments to the Constitution of Ecuador, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Ecuador’s constitutional amendments violate democratic principles,” said Carlos Ponce, director for Latin America programs. “In addition to removing term limits for government officials, they undermine freedom of expression by enshrining communication as a 'public service' that is subject to onerous government regulation, and enable military involvement in domestic policing. These measures were approved through a rubber-stamp legislature rather than by national vote, violating Ecuadorian law and marking a clear step backward for democracy.”
The 16 amendments were approved with the support of 100 votes. Only 109 of 137 National Assembly members were present, and as many as 28 opposition members did not participate in protest. The most controversial amendment removes limits on the reelection of any public official whose position is determined by popular vote, including the President. However, as the provision will not go into effect until May 2017, President Rafael Correa could remain ineligible to run in the 2017 elections.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.