10 questions set to be included in Ecuador referendum

10 questions set to be included in Ecuador referendum

Ecuador's constitutional court approved four more questions for the referendum planned by President Daniel Noboa, adding to the six that were given the green light by the court in January.

The new questions passed by the authority involve the extradition of Ecuadorans to face justice abroad, the establishment of judiciaries specialized in constitutional matters, the recognition by the State of international arbitration to resolve controversies, and reforms to the labor code to regulate fixed-term and hourly employment contracts.

In order to finalize the preparations for the referendum, the president must make some formal changes to the annexes of the four additional questions. Once those modifications have been made, the questions will go back to the court for review and then, once approved again, Noboa may call the referendum.

Of the 10 questions passed, Noboa will be able to choose whether to include all of them in the referendum or eliminate some.

The six previously approved questions include the possibility of the armed forces controlling access to prisons, increasing penalties for organized crime, allowing the police and military to use confiscated weapons and the State assuming ownership of assets of illicit origin.

Noboa has said that he hopes to hold the referendum in March. However, members of the national electoral council told BNamericas last month that it will most likely be carried out in late April or early May due to the different processes that must be carried out first.

Most of the questions in the consultation are designed to help the State combat drug trafficking and organized crime, after Noboa's declaration of an internal armed conflict and the identification of 22 criminal groups "as terrorist organizations and belligerent non-state actors" in early January after a series of attacks were carried out across the country.

The magistrates of the court also passed a constitutional reform proposed by former president Guillermo Lasso in 2022 and approved by the national assembly in December last year, allowing the armed forces to provide support to the police to combat organized crime.

This reform will also be put to public opinion and it is expected that it will be included with the other 10 questions posed by Noboa.

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