Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno has issued a decree directing the country's electoral authority to call the controverial 'Consultation' which has been at the root of divisions within his govering PAIS Alliance party.
"Because it is the right of the people, and because Article 105 of the Organic Law of Jurisdictional Guarantees and Constitutional Control protects me, I have sent Executive Decrees 229 and 230 to the (National Electoral Council, or CNE) calling for the popular consultation," Moreno tweeted Wednesday morning.
Moreno's issued the decree despite the pending ruling at the country's constitutional court on the legality of the vote.
In early October, the Ecuadorean leader released the seven questions that he suggested be put to a vote in the plebiscite, which Moreno said would help his government work more efficiently and will strengthen the country's democracy.
The third question which seeks to end the possibility of indefinite re-election has been among the central issues that have bitterly divided the leftist PAIS Alliance, with detractors claiming that the move is aimed at preventing former President Rafael Correa from seeking re-election.
"The indefinite reelection weakens the democracy and many times it diminishes efficiency to the public administration," Moreno said.
The decree to call the vote without the constitutional court's ruling has further stirred controversy.
Speaking at a press conference for local media, Correa, who returned to the country ahead of the PAIS Alliance congress on Dec. 3, called the move a "coup d'etat."
When he presented the questions, Moreno said "once the Constitutional Court approves the questions, the National Electoral Council (CNE) must call the process and each of you can choose freely."