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FORMER Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa warned of an “undemocratic violation of human rights” today after his party, Compromiso Social, was blocked from standing in elections.
Current President Lenin Moreno was accused of “yet another power grab” and interfering to illegally dissolve the party that, according to latest polling, would win both parliamentary and presidential elections.
Mr Correa was president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017 and remains hugely popular in the country, with a 72 per cent approval rating. Polls suggest that, should he be allowed to contest elections, he would again win the presidency.
Compromiso Social is the largest political force in Ecuador. But last week the National Electoral Council (CNE) removed the party from the list of those able to participate in the February 2021 elections.
The council cited “inconsistencies,” claiming that the party had failed to comply with the recommendations made by the body regarding the registration of several political movements.
Mr Correa and his supporters warned that the “current assault of Compromiso Social is so flagrant” that it does not even attempt to pretend that it conforms to Ecuadorian or international law governing elections.
They accused Mr Moreno and state Comptroller-General Pablo Celi of denying voters rights to free and fair democratic elections, effectively banning Mr Correa from standing by insisting that he had to register as a candidate in person.
The former president is living in exile, facing jail if he returns after a court sentenced him in absentia to eight years in prison on bribery charges, of which he insists he is innocent.
Mr Correa says that the the charges are political, brought after he exposed Mr Moreno and his family over corruption related to the INA papers, which were leaked in February 2019, revealing alleged money-laundering through a series of ghost companies registered in Panama.
The electoral bar has come soon after the Mr Correa announced the formation of Union for Hope (Unes), an alliance of eight organisations including Compromiso Social that hope to stand in the 2021 poll.
“This alarming backsliding on democracy in Ecuador is coupled with the dire increase in human-rights violations, out-of-control government embezzlement and extreme increase in Covid-19 cases, all of which the government is trying to cover up by disenfranchising Compromiso Social and its supporters from participating in the elections,” a statement said.
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