Ecuador’s National Electoral Council (CNE), on July 19, suspended four political parties and banned them from taking part in the 2021 general elections. The suspended parties include the Fuerza Compromiso Social or Social Commitment Force, led by former president Rafael Correa.
The CNE suspended the registration of the Social Commitment Force, Libertad es Pueblo, Justicia Social and Podemos in response to a request from the State Comptroller General’s office. The government entity observed irregularities in the registration processes for the four political groups.
The CNE granted ten days to the legal representatives of the suspended political organisations to present their defense.
The Social Commitment Movement for the Citizen’s Revolution, a coalition of left-wing and progressive forces for the 2021 elections, rejected the decision and announced that it would take part and win the upcoming elections.
“The CNE yielded to the pressure from the Comptroller (Pablo) Celi and illegally invented a non-existent remedy in electoral matters, ordering the suspension of Social Commitment. Have no doubt: the Citizen’s Revolution will participate and triumph in 2021,” wrote the party in a tweet.
In an official statement, the movement denounced the suspension as a new attempt to prevent its members from contesting in the elections. The party informed that “the CNE had already favorably resolved our legal situation on January 2, 2020 and unanimously ratified those decisions on January 21.” The party stressed that “it is clear that there is a state operation to prevent us from participating in the 2021 elections and thus violate the rights of millions of Ecuadorians who support the Citizen’s Revolution.” The movement denounced the political ban as an “electoral fraud” and said that it would “take all legal actions in national and international courts.”
Rechazamos este nuevo intento de proscribir a nuestro Movimiento @CompromisoRC en las próximas elecciones. Condenamos está vulneración de los principios elementales de la democracia en el Ecuador. ¡Ya basta de persecución! #NOFraudeElectoral @MashiRafael pic.twitter.com/19inSJO6t4
— Concejales de Quito de RC Compromiso Social (@ConcejalesRC_5) July 20, 2020
President Correa also condemned the decision. “We are robbed of democracy again, the CNE yielded to the pressures from Celi, (interior minister María Paula) Romo and the government to illegally and extemporaneously eliminate Social Commitment,” tweeted Correa.
This is the second act of political proscription against Correa this year. Earlier, on April 7, Ecuador’s National Court of Justice sentenced Correa to eight years in prison on false charges of bribery and corruption and he was barred from electoral politics for 25 years.
Correa, who was in office from 2007 to 2017, still maintains strong popular support in the country. His rule was characterised by large-scale social welfare programs and public infrastructure projects. When Moreno was elected in 2017 he ran on the promise to continue the legacy of the Citizen’s Revolution, however, just a few months after taking office he completely reversed course. Moreno’s promotion of neoliberal economic measures, adherence to US diktaks in foreign policy such as support for self-proclaimed Venezuelan “president” Juan Guaidó, and political persecution of activists and politicians from the Citizen’s Revolution are key elements of this flip.
Former president Correa has been one of the primary targets of constant political harassment under the presidency of Lenín Moreno. In August, 2019, preventive detention was ordered against him in the above mentioned corruption case. In July, 2018, the court ordered a preventive detention of Correa, accusing him of being complicit in the failed kidnapping of right-wing opposition leader Fernando Balda.