The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Correa threatens to quit if opposition controls charter assembly

From People's Daily Online, Feb 18, 2007.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said on Saturday that he will resign if his supporters can not take control of the charter assembly.

Correa said in a nationwide radio speech that if opposition candidates win control of the assembly, "I simply have to go home."

Congress has approved an April 15 referendum on whether to create the assembly to rewrite the constitution. Most opposition lawmakers stayed away before the Tuesday vote in protest, saying that the measure is unconstitutional.

"My heart is not in power. It's in service," Correa said.

Correa said he was hoping to win at least 70 percent of the seats in the assembly. He said constitutional reform is necessary to limit the power of Ecuador's traditional parties, which he blamed for the country's problems. Correa has called Congress "a sewer of corruption."

The bill for the referendum was passed 57-1 in the 100-member Congress. Six parties - the Democratic Left, the Popular Democratic Movement, the Democratic and Ethical Network, Pachakutic, the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party, and the Patriotic Society - voted for the initiative. Only one opposition politician voted against it.

The plan, which was immediately passed to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, is the first political triumph for Rafael Correa, who has been campaigning on the issue since taking power as Ecuador's president on Jan. 15.

The decision was reached as some 1,000 people protested outside Congress, seeking an immediate start of the referendum. Last month, Correa's backers stormed the building to pressure for the vote, forcing a suspension of the session.

"If we want a change, vote for the candidates of the people to end these mafias that have plundered the country," the president said on Saturday.

Correa has said that the assembly will have the power to dismiss not only lawmakers but judges and even the president himself.

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