Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa confirmed on Wednesday that there will be a referendum to ask citizens whether they want to prevent public servants or candidates from having accounts or companies in tax havens.
The poll question approved by the country's constitutional court is: "Do you agree that, for those holding a popularly elected office or for public servants, there should be a prohibition on holding assets or capital, of any nature, in tax havens?"
The referendum will be part of the next general elections that will be held on February 19, 2017, in which almost 13 million Ecuadorians are eligible to vote. Voting is compulsory in this South American nation.
Correa said the vote will be held on the same day as the general elections in order to save money. The decree is expected to be published on Dec. 7. The outgoing president added that since this was a proposal made by his government, he will campaign for a "Yes" vote.
With this move, Correa is seeking a mandate from the Ecuadorian people to see that politicians and public servants who store their money in offshore tax havens are not able to hold office.
If the "Yes" wins, all public servants and elected officials will be given a year to repatriate their capital or be removed from office or their post.
But Correa also brought this issue to a global arena and has proposed to create a U.N. body to bring tax havens into the light and allow governments to receive revenue currently lost in offshore accounts.
“This referendum is part of Ecuador’s determined efforts to put an end to tax havens. If we’re going to end the era of tax havens, we need coordinated global action. That’s why Ecuador has also taken up the baton in the campaign for a UN body to shut them down,” said Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs Minister Guillaume Long.