Protesters armed with sticks and rocks battled with police outside Ecuador’s National Assembly, where lawmakers are debating a constitutional change that would lift current term limits for the country’s presidency.
The opposition complains that President Rafael Correa would be able to run for office indefinitely beginning in 2021. Correa’s current term will expire 2017 and he has said he does not intend to run at that time.
Correa’s Alianza Pais party holds a two-thirds majority in the legislature so the reform is expected to pass.
Ramiro Crespo, director of Analytica Securities in Quito, said rising unemployment and a looming credit crunch could mean “more street demonstrations and harsher repression”, according to the Guardian.
Ecuador is the third Latin American country to approve indefinite re-election, after Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Beyond the presidential term limit reform, the amendments being considered would remove collective bargaining for public employees and put the military in charge of domestic security.