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Referendum in Ecuador: divided opinions

Ecuadorians will have the final word next 5 February, when they go to the polls to choose both local and regional authorities. The eight proposals that the government of current president, Guillermo Lasso, will put forward to popular vote on 5 February are generating discrepancies in public opinion.


The questions refer to idecisionssues like security, transparency, registration of political parties, legislative conformation, the environment, and contributions by the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control (CPCCS).

For Karen Sichel, legal adviser to the president of the Republic, voting “yes” to the proposed questions will allow improvements in tackling organised crime and drug dealing, as well as improving the quality of political representation in institutions like the National Assembly.

However, there are different voices, from politicians to indigenous people, students and teachers, who are calling for a “no” vote. “It is a trick. Demagogic solutions proposed by the government serve as an excuse not to attack the country’s structural problems. This is not going to solve anything,” said activist, Augusto Verduga.

“Crafty”, “tricky” and “smokescreen” are some of the terms with which the Government mechanism is intending to purge the political class, fight against corruption, stop violence and drug dealing, as well as solve environmental problems. Verduga commented that “the badly-named Citizen Consultation is just a distraction to seize control from the authorities and guarantee impunity for the government”.

This comment refers especially to the question about the attributions of the CPCCS, an entity created in 2008 using transparent processes to appoint authorities to the Ombudsman’s Office, the Comptroller General of the State and the Superintendencies, among other positions.

The trick is using “baited questions” which hide the real intention of the consultation: extending the control of the authorities who protect Lasso, declared Pamela Aguirre, the assemblywoman of the Union por la Esperanza legislators.

According to the Government, question number 1 seeks to authorise the extradition of Ecuadoreans who commit transnational crimes to resolve the insecurity and remove drug trafficker and criminal gang leaders from their space.

However, Verduga explained that it does not work like that in practice, because it cannot be applied immediately and it depends on the will of other nations. He said that it is a demagogic measure.

There is also rejection of questions related to the environment, apparently superior and which seek to preserve water resources and fight against illegal mining.

According to the organisation, question 7 seeks to include water protection zones in the system of protected areas, which is included in current law, and number 8, about the commercialisation of nature, is also already regulated. PL

(Translated by Donna Davison. Email: Pixabay

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