Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa will not run for re-election in the country’s 2017 general elections, the National Assembly announced Wednesday, and Ecuador’s governing PAIS Alliance party confirmed its support for the decision.
PAIS Alliance stated in a declaration that in light of Correa’s decision, which they respect, the party also supports the consolidation and larger role for new political leaders and activists.
“PAIS Alliance recognizes the leadership of Rafael Correa and supports his decision to not participate in the next elections.”
The announcement of support comes after much discussion within the party in recent days, during which members also proposed constitutional amendments, Radio Publica reported.
According to the head of Ecuador’s National Assembly, Gabriela Rivadeneira, the proposed 16 constitutional amendments include a transitional provision that would maintain the limits on re-election of elected positions to just two terms. Some authorities would be exempt.
Radio Publica reported that legislator Juan Casinelli said, however, that this transitional provision would only become valid in 2017, and would first have to go to a special commission.
President Correa was elected in in 2007 and has maintained high levels of popularity throughout his nine years in office. In June, polls showed approval was still high at 67 percent, despite opposition protests against proposed taxes on the wealthy and other proposed measures.
“We will always support this revolution, we are soldiers of a great political project.”
In June, an alliance of historically left- and right-wing groups ramped up their protests against President Correa following the announcement of government plans to introduce a capital gains and inheritance tax aimed at redistributing wealth. The proposed tax laws would impact about two percent of Ecuador’s population.
In an effort to ease tensions and promote dialogue, President Correa temporarily withdrew the bills and launched a national conversation in the country focused on wealth distribution and other means of addressing inequality. The talks focus on several laws currently under discussion, including the proposal to increase inheritance tax, and invites Ecuadoreans from various sectors to participate in developing political proposals in the interests of promoting social justice.
In August, opposition leaders re-launched demonstrations against the government. Many of the protests turned violent. Opposition groups have also mobilized again in recent weeks, with government supporters also holding counter-demonstrations in support of Correa and the Citizens’ Revolution of his PAIS Alliance party.
The government’s ongoing national dialogue process will continue to meet with citizens and grassroots organizations across the country throughout the rest of this year to discuss various government-led proposals in support of social justice.
Under Correa’s presidency, more than 1 million people have been lifted out of poverty in Ecuador, the minimum wage has increased by 80 percent, and spending on public services such as healthcare and education has increased.
Ecuador’s general elections are schedule for February 2017.