Protests as Ecuador lifts presidential term limits

Ecuador`s Congress voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to lift presidential term limits from 2021, triggering violent demonstrations that saw police attacked with spears, clubs and home-made rockets.

AFP| Updated: Dec 04, 2015, 12:27 PM IST

Quito: Ecuador`s Congress voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to lift presidential term limits from 2021, triggering violent demonstrations that saw police attacked with spears, clubs and home-made rockets.

Ecuador now joins fellow leftist-led Latin American nations Venezuela and Nicaragua in allowing multiple re-elections.

After nine hours of debate, and opposition protests in the streets of Quito and other cities, the legislature -- dominated by supporters of President Rafael Correa -- voted 100-8 in favor of the constitutional amendments.

While the legislature barred Correa from running for re-election in the 2017 national polls, he could become a candidate in 2021. The socialist leader has been in power since 2007.

Protests, sometimes violent, were held in the country`s main cities, including Guayaquil, Ecuador`s most populous city.

Protesters wanted lawmakers to refrain from voting on the proposal, or at least have it put to a popular vote -- as will happen in Bolivia in February.

In the capital Quito, Interior Minister Jose Serrano said that a "violent" group attacked police with spears, stones and clubs.