Almost two weeks after Ecuador held its sixth referendum in three years, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced last night that nine of 10 referendum questions received majority votes in favor of President Rafael Correa’s proposals. Official results indicate that votes in favor of the proposals accounted for between 44.96 and 50.46 percent of votes cast, while votes opposed to the questions received between only 39.25 and 42.56 percent of votes. The results omit nullified votes or “blank” votes.
The final referendum question on whether to outlaw cock and bullfighting, a question to be addressed by individual districts, received approval in 127 of 221 districts. It will be implemented only in those districts where approved.
The referendum, viewed by many as a vote of confidence in the president himself, was largely expected to be approved. However, growing resentment of the president’s perceived reach into control of the media and his proposal to revamp the judiciary led many to believe that this would not be a landslide victory for Correa. The victory may bolster Correa’s chances for reelection in the next presidential elections, to be held in 2013, although its narrow margin suggests such an outcome may not be as easily achieved as was previously thought.
The results of the referendum now await final confirmation from the CNE, and opposition politicians may still contest the results by filing complaints with the electoral authorities.