Daniel Noboa, Ecuador, Elections, Politics
Self-described as a moderate social-democrat, Noboa says his political bet is to act with pragmatism and speed. AFP

President Daniel Noboa announced Wednesday that he had submitted a list of draft questions for the referendum in a letter to the Constitutional Court to impose tighter security measures in Ecuador.

This move comes as violence and crime see an increase in the South American country.

The 36-year-old president, who took over the office in November, said in a televised message that the court now had 20 days to respond to his letter.

According to the letter submitted, the president wants approval from voters to increase the prison sentences for crimes like homicide and arms trafficking among others. Furthermore, Ecuador's military should be able to get rid of international criminal groups that are operating in the country.

"This consultation has three clear objectives; one the intervention of the armed forces in the fight against crime; two... support from the justice system so that those convicted of organized crime serve longer sentences," he said, Reuters reported.

The third objective is to boost the economy by opening casinos and similar businesses in the country, after former leftist President Rafael Correa shut them down.

"It's possible to combat crime, to have a justice system that responds with harsher and firmer penalties and, above all, create new jobs for Ecuador - we must all contribute to move the country forward," Noboa added.

In the last few years, the crime rate has increased in the South American country. According to a report, Ecuador's crime rate was 5.84% in 2017, which increased to 6.84% in 2018. It almost doubled in 2020 as it reached 14.02%.

Last month, Ecuador's attorney general Diana Salazar said 29 people, including the head of the country's judicial regulator, were detained for investigation in a drug trafficking case.

The detention took place after the judiciary council, alongside the houses of judges, prosecutors and police officers, were raided on Dec. 14 morning by 900 prosecutors and police officers. Over 75 raids were done in a single day.

Besides Ecuador, other Latin American countries, including Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela, also have high crime rates.

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