Ecuador President Seeks Amendment for Indefinite Reelection

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa / AP

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Ecuador President Rafael Correa is asking the country’s legislature to amend its constitution and allow for indefinite reelection, a measure that could strengthen his grip on power, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Correa initially said he would not run for another presidential term in 2017, but the amendment would allow him to do just that:

“I have decided to request to our block in the assembly that the Constitution be amended to establish indefinite reelection in all positions of popular election so that the people can choose who continues and who alternates,” said Mr. Correa during his speech to the nation at the National Assembly.

However, Mr. Correa said his decision on whether to run again will be decided upon by his political movement Alianza Pais as well as taking into account conditions before the 2017 elections.

Mr. Correa took office in 2007 and quickly set about to change the constitution to allow him to run for another term, which he won in 2009.

Last year he won another reelection until 2017. By the time his current term expires in 2017, Mr. Correa will have governed Ecuador for about 10 years, a record in the Andean country, which had seven presidents during the decade before he took office.

The amendment would enable Correa to permanently extend his rule, a tactic long used in the region by other strongmen such as former Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. Correa’s administration has been widely criticized by human rights groups for its repression of critical media, among other abuses.

Correa previously called the Washington Free Beacon “corrupt” for reporting on a case brought by Ecuadorian plaintiffs against Chevron, which allegedly featured corruption by the plaintiffs’ legal team.