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Ecuadorians overwhelmingly vote to deploy army to fight gangs, increase prison sentences

The results come after Ecuador's homicide rate more than tripled from 2021 to 2023.

Published: April 22, 2024 10:08am

Ecuadorians overwhelmingly voted in favor of new rules that would crack down on gangs as the country faces an overwhelming wave of violence.

All nine questions that tightened security measures received significant support from voters, and only two controversial economic proposals were rejected during Sunday's election, according to The Associated Press

One of the measures that was approved included deploying the army to fight gangs, which passed by more than 70%, according to initial results from Ecuador's National Electoral Council. Another proposal that would allow for the extradition of Ecuadorians passed by more than 64%. Similarly, a proposal that would increase prison sentences passed by more than 68%. 

The election comes after Ecuador's homicide rate skyrocketed from 13.7 per 100,000 people in 2021 to about 45 per 100,000 people in 2023, according to Human Rights Watch. Additionally, extortion reported to police doubled from the first six months of 2023 compared to the same time period in 2022.

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