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Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno Garces addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson(reuters_tickers)
QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said on Monday he will seek to prevent unlimited presidential re-election via a referendum to change the constitution, potentially blocking former ally ex-president Rafael Correa from returning to power.
Moreno in September called for the referendum amid a bitter political dispute with Correa over the country's economic situation and dialogue with opposition sectors.
"These changes will give us powerful tools to tackle corruption, strengthen democracy, and revive employment and the economy," Moreno said in a televised speech.
"I believe that alternation of power extends the rights of participation, strengthens accountability and guarantees democracy."
The vote, which does not yet have a date, will include seven questions on issues ranging from new anti-corruption measures to limiting mining and oil production in environmentally sensitive areas.
The questions will have to be approved by the Constitutional Court. Five of the questions involve direct reforms to the Constitution passed in 2008.
The referendum plan has fuelled divisions within the ruling party alliance. Correa, who ruled the country for a decade, has said he feels betrayed by Moreno's decisions.
The legislature, at Correa's behest, in 2015 approved indefinite re-election for public officials. For the president and vice president, the rule takes effect as of 2021.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Michael Perry)