Banning political opponents by including term limits. The 2018 referendum in Ecuador and the restriction of political rights

The political persecution in Ecuador has two faces. First, political opponents are criminalized, incarcerated or forced to exile. Second, their political rights are restricted. This contribution will discuss the second point, the restriction of political rights, by studying one specific type of restriction: the inclusion of term limits. I will discuss whether there is a human right to re-election. I will conclude that there is no autonomous human right to re-election in international human right law, but term limits do amount to a restriction of political rights. Being a restriction, term-limits should satisfy the “strict proportionality test” applied by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. I will demonstrate that the re-establishment of term limits in Ecuador did not satisfy the Inter-American Court’s test, because it failed to comply with constitutional requirements, and because it aimed at banning the political opponents of the current regime.