Since taking office in May 2017, Ecuadorean president Lenín Moreno has made headline-grabbing efforts to reverse the transformations wrought by his populist predecessor, Rafael Correa (2007–17). Initially elected as Correa’s handpicked successor and the candidate of his Alianza PAIS movement, Moreno departed from the course set by Correa on matters ranging from the abolition of term limits to the launch of anticorruption investigations. Yet illiberal populism’s architect in Ecuador and his antipopulist successor have turned out to share one key political habit: a reliance on referendums. The case of Ecuador suggests that referendums may be liable to backfire when used in the service of restoring democracy.
The Pushback Against Populism: Why Ecuador’s Referendums Backfired
Issue Date April 2020
Page Numbers 69-80