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With the “Yes” vote on 9 of 11 questions, constitutional and legal reforms in the popular consultation head to the Assembly

Published on April 22, 2024

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The Assembly must approve reforms to the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code, to the Asset Forfeiture Law, and another to regulate the cooperation of the Armed Forces.

With a resounding “Yes” vote on the referendum and popular consultation that took place this Sunday, April 21, 2024, the constitutional and legal reforms proposed therein will come into force at different times. Some immediately, and others in at least 65 days. Deadlines count from the publication of the results in the Official Registry.

All but two of the questions posed to Ecuador’s citizens received a “YES” vote; voters turned down the question (D) related to international arbitration and the question (E) which sought to amend the Labor Code to allow hourly employment contracts.

A, B and C

In the annexes to questions A, B and C of the referendum section, changes were proposed in the Magna Carta and in secondary regulations such as the Extradition Law, the Law of Jurisdictional Guarantees and Constitutional Control.

These refer, in their order, to the collaboration of the Armed Forces with the National Police in the fight against organized crime without a state of exception being involved (A); the extradition of Ecuadorians (B); the creation of judiciaries specialized in jurisdictional guarantees.

These modifications (constitutional and legal) will govern directly as soon as the results of the popular consultation are published in the Official Registry in the terms set forth in the annexes.

However, in the annex to question A, a transitional provision is introduced that says that “within a period of 200 days, counted from the entry into force of this partial reform, the National Assembly will approve the regulatory framework that develops the parameters, formal and material limits of the complementary support of the Armed Forces to the National Police.”

Questions F, G, H, I, J, and K

While the plebiscite questions have been listed with the letters F, G, H, I, J, and K.

They refer, in their order, to the control of weapons, ammunition, and explosives on roads, paths, and access routes to prisons by the Armed Forces (F); the increase in penalties in ten crimes (G); serving the entire prison sentence for certain crimes (H); the classification of the crime of possession of weapons that are for the exclusive use of the Police and the Armed Forces (I); the delivery of weapons used in crimes to the public force (J); and the simplification of asset forfeiture so that the State controls ill-gotten assets (K).

In the annexes to questions G, H, I, and J, it is specified that once the results of the consultation are made official, President Daniel Noboa has five days to send to the Assembly a draft reform to the Comprehensive Organic Penal Code (COIP). This, in turn, has 60 days to debate and approve the standard.

And Annex K establishes the same deadlines (65 days in total) to present, debate, and approve a reform to the Organic Law of Domain Forfeiture.

Although question F of the consultation does not have an annex, consulted jurists point out that in any case, the Government will have to propose some type of legislation (laws, regulations, or ministerial agreements) so that it can be effectively complied with.

The Code of Democracy states that the elections cannot last more than ten days from the day after the vote. From the moment the results are announced, there is a three-day deadline for political subjects to challenge them. They will then become final and will be published in the Official Registry.


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