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  • Rafael Correa could run for president again in 2017 if voters approve it through a referendum.

    Rafael Correa could run for president again in 2017 if voters approve it through a referendum. | Photo: EFE

A 180-period is to begin soon for signatures of 8 percent of voters to be collected in order to go ahead with the referendum.

Ecuador's high court on Monday ruled that through a referendum the country's citizens can vote on repealing the constitutional law that bars presidents from being nominated for a third term and which, if approved, would pave the way for Rafael Correa to run again in the 2017 general elections.

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The country's Constitutional Court released their ruling Monday after an appeal to the court in March by the organization “Rafael Contigo Siempre,” or “Always With You Rafael,” asking for Correa's re-election to be enabled.

In December, the National Assembly approved various constitutional reforms, including one that allows the indefinite re-election of politicians to electoral posts.

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However, the lawmakers introduced an amendment that would allow re-election indefinitely beginning May 2017, which banned Correa from running on a third occasion because in August, electoral authorities will close down the registration period of political organizations ahead of the February 2017 elections.

Correa, a 57-year-old economist who enjoys a very high level of popularity thanks to the many social programs implemented by his government, last year said he would retire from politics “for a little while at least.”

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But the Rafael Contigo Siempre collective was not happy to hear this and presented their petition early in March, to which the court resolved that their appeal must be processed through a constitutional reform.

“The proposed reform is to be processed through a constitutional amendment,” the high court said at a time that the whole country is in mourning after the April 17, 7.8 magnitude quake that killed almost 700 and injured at least 15,000.

According to the court, amendments can be put to vote through a referendum which can be called by the president or the citizenship with the signatures of at least 8 percent of registered voters.

The next step is for the court to analyze and approve the question to be asked in the referendum, and once this step is completed, the National Electoral Council will issue the paperwork for signature gathering, which has to be fulfilled within 180 days.

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