Ecuadorians Reject President Noboa's Economic Reforms

Ecuadorians Reject President Noboa's Economic Reforms
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Fecha de publicación: 
22 April 2024
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In the referendum held on Sunday, Ecuadorians rejected President Daniel Noboa's attempt to legalize fixed-term and hourly contracts and establish international arbitration for conflicts with foreign investors.

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Referendum in Ecuador Ends With 72% of Participation

Former President Rafael Correa emphasized that the results of the plebiscite constitute a victory for the people and a "clear defeat" for Noboa and the conservative elites.

"The Ecuadorian people put a stop to a would-be dictator," Correa said, referring to the authoritarian attitudes displayed by Noboa in his first six months in office.

In the question related to labor contracts, 65 percent of voters did not accept the government's proposal, while only 34 percent of voters voted in favor of it.

On the other hand, 70 percent of voters rejected the proposal related to the acceptance of international arbitration as a method of resolving business or commercial disputes.

Noboa's reforms related to security, justice, and crime fighting, however, were accepted by the population, with approval percentages ranging from 61 to 73 percent.

Through the referendum, Noboa attempted to gauge his level of acceptance as a first step towards considering his candidacy for reelection in 2025.

He assumed office in November 2023, after Guillermo Lasso decided to dissolve Parliament and call for early elections to avoid impeachment.

Three questions approved by the population will come into effect as soon as the official results are proclaimed since they are amendments to the 2008 Constitution.

Firstly, 73 percent of voters agreed to permanent participation of the Armed Forces in operations against organized crime.

With 65 percent of votes in favor, extraditions of Ecuadorians requested by the justice systems of other countries were approved, and with 60 percent of voters, the establishment of a constitutional court system was accepted.

The rest of the six measures approved must be implemented through bills. Among these measures is entrusting the Armed Forces with controlling access to prisons, which have become a symbol of the criminal violence plaguing Ecuador since 2017.

Noboa must also submit a bill to toughen penalties for crimes related to organized crime and eliminate prison benefits so that those convicted for these reasons serve their entire sentences in prison.

The Nationa Assembly must also address bills to define possession and carrying of weapons exclusive to the Police and Armed Forces as a crime; allow state security forces to use weaponry seized from criminals; and authorize the immediate expropriation of assets of illicit origin.
The plebiscite saw the participation of 72 percent of the more than 13.6 million Ecuadorians authorized to vote. The week leading up to the vote was marked by the murders of two mayors of cities where there is illegal mining activity, and also by a severe energy crisis that forced the Noboa administration to implement eight-hour blackouts per day to ration electricity supply.

On election day, the director of El Rodeo prison was killed in Portoviejo City and a riot broke out in Quevedo prison, leaving at least four injured.

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