PanamaTimes

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Ecuador's Referendum: Noboa's War on Crime and Constitutional Reforms

Ecuadorians are voting in a referendum on Sunday, with over 13 million expected to participate.
The referendum is focused on security issues and could impact the future of President Daniel Noboa and his tough-on-crime agenda.

Noboa, who took office last November as the youngest president in Ecuador's history, has promised to reduce crime and has labeled more than 20 criminal gangs as "terrorists." He has declared a state of emergency and authorized controversial actions, such as raiding the embassy to capture a fugitive former vice president accused of corruption.

Noboa's actions have been aimed at addressing the crime wave that has transformed Ecuador from a tranquil country into one plagued by drug cartels and turf wars.

Experts believe the outcome of Ecuador's referendum on Sunday will indicate the level of public support for President Noboa and his past decisions.

The vote includes 11 questions, five of which could amend the Constitution if approved, and six that are advisory.

Over 13 million of Ecuador's nearly 18 million residents are eligible to vote, with voting being mandatory.

Significant proposals include enabling the military to patrol with police to combat crime (currently only possible during a state of emergency), allowing extradition (currently prohibited), and increasing penalties for violent crimes.

In March 2023, Noboa called for urgent reforms to enhance security and urged support for the National Police and Armed Forces during a military event.

He emphasized the importance of continuing this process through a referendum and the need for clear and firm backing from the public to sustain it.

The context of this statement suggests a potential escalation of violence or instability in the country.
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