Ecuadorian referendum, 1997

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A fourteen-part referendum was held in Ecuador on 25 May 1997. Voters were asked whether they approved of the dismissal of President Abdalá Bucaram by the National Congress, the appointment of Fabián Alarcón as interim President for twelve months, the calling of a Constitutional Assembly, whether a Constitutional Assembly should be elected by direct elections or by appointment, whether spending limits should be introduced for election campaigns, whether voters should be able to modify electoral lists, whether National Assembly elections should be held alongside the first or second round of presidential elections,[1] whether political parties that fail to cross the 5% threshold in two consecutive elections should be deregistered, whether the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) should reflect the political makeup of the National Congress, whether the National Congress should appoint managers of state-owned companies with a two-thirds majority, reforms to the justice system, allowing the Supreme Court to appoint judicial authority member, whether elected officials who commit a criminal offence should be removed from office, and whether the National Assembly should implement the 13 proposals.[2] All eleven proposals were rejected.[2]

After all yes/no questions were approved,[2] a Constitutional Assembly was subsequently elected in 1997 and produced a new constitution which entered into force on 10 August 1998.[3]

Background[edit]

On 6 February 1997 the Constitutional Assembly had removed President Bucaram from office due to "mental retardation". However, it had not been done by a majority of 67 of the 100 members as proscribed by the constitution. On 8 April interim President Alarcón issued decree 201, calling a referendum on 14 questions, as allowed by article 58 of the constitution.[3]

Results[edit]

Yes/no questions[edit]

Issue For Against Invalid/
blank
Total Registered
voters
Turnout
Votes % Votes %
Removal of President Abdalá Bucaram from office 2,488,778 75.76 796,154 24.24 798,174 4,083,106 6,890,832 59.25
Appointment of Fabián Alarcón Rivera as interim President 2,241,299 68.37 1,036,722 31.63 802,602 4,080,623 59.2
Election of a Constitutional Assembly 1,903,962 64.58 1,044,188 35.42 1,130,671 4,078,821 59.19
Spending limits on election campaigns 1,999,776 69.87 862,377 30.13 1,218,078 4,080,231 59.21
Deregister parties failing to cross the 5% threshold twice in a row 1,892,180 68.45 872,330 31.55 1,314,947 4,079,457 59.20
TSE composition to reflect party strength 1,592,945 58.67 1,122,234 41.33 1,361,927 4,077,106 59.17
National Assembly to appoint heads of state-owned companies 1,373,957 50.75 1,333,339 49.25 1,369,447 4,076,743 59.16
Judicial reforms 1,651,162 60.73 1,067,724 39.27 1,356,506 4,075,392 59.14
Supreme Court to elect judicial authorities 1,512,406 55.97 1,189,976 44.03 1,372,931 4,075,313 59.14
Sacking of elected officials who commit criminal offences 1,615,292 60.25 1,065,850 39.75 1,393,477 4,074,619 59.13
Allowing electoral list modification 1,250,663 51.65 1,170,865 48.35 1,649,311 4,070,839 59.08
National Assembly to pass reforms within 60 days 1,790,383 66.88 886,459 33.12 1,396,259 4,073,101 59.11
Source: Direct Democracy

Method of election of a Constitutional Assembly[edit]

Choice Votes %
Purely elected 1,454,306 59.85
Partially elected, partially appointed 975,807 40,15
Invalid/blank votes 1,643,431
Total 4,073,544 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,890,832 59.12
Source: Direct Democracy

Timing of National Assembly elections[edit]

Choice Votes %
Alongside first round of presidential elections 1,469,052 61.30
Alongside second round of presidential elections 927,290 38.70
Invalid/blank votes 1,678,271
Total 4,074,613 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,890,832 59.13
Source: Direct Democracy

References[edit]