Ecuador votes in a referendum on drug trafficking, employment and justice

Ecuador votes in a referendum on drug trafficking, employment and justice

Ecuador vote normally this Sunday to decide on referendum if they give the green light to the extradition and harden sorrows against drug traffickers, under a climate of terror for him murder fingers mayors this week, the unstoppable violence and an electrical crisis. In addition, the consultation covers employment and justice issues. At least 60% of Ecuadorians have already voted.

“We continue with a peaceful, calm, safe voting day”said the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Diana Atamaint, and announced that by 3:30 p.m., 60% of the voters had already voted. Some 13.6 million of the 17.7 million inhabitants are called to vote Yes or No in 11 questions promoted by President Daniel Noboafor whom the popular consultation will be a thermometer for an eventual re-election next February.

Wearing a white shirt and dark pants, the ruler voted in the coastal resort of Olón (southwest), under strong military guard. Noboa, who withdrew without giving statements, will receive in Quito the results of a CNE quick count scheduled for tonight.

The referendum “will define the course and State policy that we will take to be able to face the challenge of fighting violence and organized crime,” he said early in the opening of the day, which will conclude around 5:00 p.m. local time (10:00 p.m. GMT) after ten voting hours.

The extradition of Ecuadorians It is the spearhead of the referendum, when the Constitution prohibits it. 59% of the electorate agreed, according to researcher Comunicaliza, in a country with mandatory voting. The population was consulted on this matter in February 2023, before the assassination of the presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, and the No won with 52%.

36 years old and elected in atypical elections for 18 months (until May 2025), Noboa included questions about the expansion of the military’s functions in the fight against crime and the increase in penalties for crimes such as drug trafficking.

Polls estimated that the Yes will triumph with up to 65% of the vote, in a context of massacres in the streets, political violence, the growing power of drug traffickers and an electricity crisis. “After the blackouts things changed. Lor more likely today’s game will end 9 to 2“of the total number of questions, said on Sunday the manager of the pollster Comunicaliza, Álvaro Marchante in X.

The opposition mainly refused to establish the hourly employment contract and recognize international arbitration to resolve disputes.

What do Ecuadorians vote? Main points of the referendum in Ecuador

The eleven questions raised by the president of Ecuador in the referendum this Sunday aim to allow the extradition of compatriots, tougher sentences against him organized crime, create specialized judiciaries and restore hourly work and international arbitration.

The questions, to which Ecuadorians will answer “Yes” or “No”, will be resolved through a referendum (five) and popular consultation (six), aimed at giving a greater role to the Armed Forces in the fight against drug trafficking, which has turned the nation into a strategic center of its operations and unleashed a wave of violence.

  • That complementary support from the Armed Forces to the police be allowed to combat organized crime.

Currently, the Constitution establishes that the military is in charge of defending sovereignty, while maintaining public order is the responsibility of the police.

  • Allow extradition.

The Constitution determines that in no case will the extradition of Ecuadorian citizens be granted. The proposed constitutional amendment refers to crimes of terrorism and crimes against humanity, with the condition that the death penalty is not applied in the country of destination.

  • Establish specialized judiciaries in constitutional matters.

The specialized judges, who if the measure is approved will be installed throughout the country, will rule exclusively in their own jurisdictions. In Ecuador there have been cases in which politicians and criminals have benefited from protection measures issued by magistrates from places that do not correspond to the processes.

  • Recognize international arbitration to resolve investment and commercial disputes.

During the government of former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), Ecuador terminated bilateral investment treaties and withdrew from arbitration organizations such as ICSID.

  • Establish a fixed-term and hourly employment contract.

The Correa administration eliminated hourly work, considering that it made working conditions precarious. Noboa’s initiative to promote employment It is rejected by union and indigenous sectors.

  • That the Armed Forces carry out weapons controls at the entrances to prisons.

The prisons, where the authorities have found weapons more sophisticated than those of the public force itself, have been scenes of bloody massacres among prisoners who are members of drug gangs that are vying for power.

  • Increase in penalties for ten crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and hitmen.

Noboa, in the war against drug trafficking, declared about twenty gangs “terrorists.” That crime is now punishable by up to 13 years in prison.

  • Elimination of sentence reductions for those convicted of crimes such as terrorism.
  • That the public force can immediately use the seized weapons.
  • Classify the crime of possession or carrying of weapons for the exclusive use of military and police officers.
  • Simplify the procedure of the Asset Forfeiture law so that the State becomes the owner of assets of illicit or unjustified origin (seized).

If the Yes vote is won in the referendum, the constitutional amendments will come into effect as soon as the results are published in the Official Registry (Diario).

In the case of the popular consultation, the proposals must be debated and approved by the unicameral National Assembly (Congress), in which the opposition is the majority but is dispersed.

Source: Ambito

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