Monday, May 9, 2011

New Push Correa election, though weaker than expected

Quito .- Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, was with his victory in the referendum this Sunday the tools to reform the justice and influence the press, while reaffirming its political hegemony in the country, although the electoral momentum was much weaker than expected. Ten days ago the polls predicted a victory with 20 points ahead in the referendum, ten questions, but the preliminary official results have left between 2 and 8 points, depending on the issue.

And that despite Correa became a ubiquitous figure in favor of "yes" through a relentless campaign in the media, especially public ones, and at rallies around the country. In addition, the Government used forced air programs by television to criticize the opposition and private press, which, in turn, also condemned the Executive.

Even if by a narrower margin than expected, today's victory will allow Correa to centralize even more in the Palacio de Carondelet, Quito colonial building which houses the Executive key decisions for the country, experts say. "The president already had influence in all branches," he told Efe Adrian Bonilla, director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), who said the victory in the referendum "legitimizes everything done and their future decisions." Correa has more power than their predecessors, as the Constitution in force in Ecuador since 2008 reflects his priorities, he has a network of public media to disseminate their ideas and the opposition lacks a figure that a counterbalance.

The complexity of the questions, some of them written in unclear language and annexes that seemed destined to lawyers in the country, has made many citizens simply vote according to their opinion of the president, analysts said. In this sense, the tightness of victory, according to data available today, you should give thought to what Correa.

In any case, the referendum campaign has allowed, according to Bonilla, mobilize their political networks in the country, which will be useful in the future re-election in 2013. Thanks to today's result, Correa will have for a year and a half the dominant voice in a board of three members responsible for justice reform.

"We anticipate that the Judicial Council will be close to the government," said Juan Carlos Donoso Efe, program coordinator of political science at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Complaints that it violates the separation of powers did not convince citizens who feel that crime is rampant and Correa accepted the argument that this is because judges "corrupt" free left the police catch criminals .

The victory in the referendum also gives you new weapons to deal with who was, according to him, his main opponent in the campaign: the private press. Ecuadorians approved the creation of a council to regulate violent content, sexual or discriminatory in the press, which will determine the "responsibility" of journalists and media that violate their parameters.

These criteria are not defined, nor the composition of the board, although Correa said today after the vote that the government has to be present in it, but enjoy most. Given the growing hostility toward the president's private press, which he has described as "mediocre", "corrupt" and "lying" journalists' organizations in Ecuador and abroad have warned that the council could be used to censor information end denied by the president.

"It's very dangerous," he told Efe Fabian Corral, a constitutional law expert and columnist for "El Comercio" newspaper that has been criticism of the president. Corral said the criteria for sanctions against journalists should be in the law and not say "discretion" of the Council. Correa has denied that such regulation violates press freedom and reiterated today that it is necessary to improve the quality of the media.

He said that after the victory in the referendum will deepen its "citizens' revolution." The Ecuadorians have given new powers to do so.

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