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.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Gov't: Ecuadorean Congress Will Remain

Washington Post
Thursday, February 1, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuador's new leftist government said Thursday that it does not plan to dissolve Congress despite a bitter fight over a push to overhaul the country's charter that led protesters to storm the capitol this week.

Armed with clubs and rocks, thousands of supporters of President Rafael Correa invaded the congressional building Tuesday to demand that lawmakers call a March 18 referendum on whether the constitution should be rewritten. They forced the session to be suspended and police dispersed the protests after firing tear gas on the crowd.

Correa says the referendum is necessary to limit the power of Ecuador's traditional parties, which he blames for the country's problems. Opposition lawmakers, meanwhile, have raised fears that a constitutional assembly with unlimited powers, as Correa advocates, might move to close the legislature.

Interior Minister Gustavo Larrea said Thursday that Correa has "no intention" of shutting Congress over the dispute.

"The government guarantees that Congress will function," Larrea said. "To be clear, the executive branch has no intention of dissolving Congress."

Tensions over the issue have been high since Correa took office Jan. 15. During his election campaign, Correa called Congress a "sewer" of corruption.

Congressional head Jorge Cevallos has accused the president of acting like a "dictator" by trying to impose his will on congressmen who were as legitimately elected as he was.

Ecuador's National Electoral Tribunal last week decided to send Correa's request for the referendum to Congress for review and approval. Correa contends the constitution allows him to call referendums on matters of national interest without the legislature's permission.

Correa has said his government hopes to win at least 70 percent of seats in a constitutional assembly.

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