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, March 14, 2007

20 fired Ecuador congressmen force their way into parliament

IHT, March 13, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador: Some 20 congressmen fired last week by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for allegedly interfering with plans for a national referendum forced their way past dozens of police guarding Congress and took up their seats on Tuesday.

Opposition Congresswoman Gloria Gallardo, one of the dismissed legislators, shouted, "We are in a dictatorship!" and accused new leftist President Rafael Correa of ordering police to keep the fired congressmen from entering.

The tribunal dismissed 57 congressmen it accused of interfering with a national referendum, scheduled for April 15 and supported by Correa, on the need for a special assembly to rewrite the constitution.

The dispute has plunged this unstable small Andean into a political crisis, with the tribunal, Congress and the president accusing one another of violating the constitution.

Correa says the new charter is needed to limit the power of traditional political parties that he blames for corruption and political instability. Correa is Ecuador's eighth president in 10 years.

The tribunal acted last week after 57 congressmen in the 100-seat unicameral legislature fired the tribunal's president for approving the referendum and then began impeachment proceedings against him and three other judges who formed the majority in the seven-member court.

Constitutional experts questioned both the congressmen's actions and the response of the tribunal.

Congresswoman Sylka Sanchez, one of the fired legislators who pushed past police guards, said they had acted "to prevent a dictatorship. We don't want dictatorship. We want democracy."

Television images showed one congressman lying on the floor of Congress apparently unconscious from a fall. Red Cross workers were helping him. Another congressman received treatment for his eyes, which were irritated by tear gas fired by police trying to keep the fired legislators from entering.

The Constitutional Tribunal convened Tuesday to study a complaint from Jorge Cevallos, the fired president of Congress, that the electoral tribunal's actions violated the constitution.

Correa has already said he would not respect any decision by the Constitutional Tribunal aimed at blocking the referendum. He argues the election tribunal has final say on electoral matters, not the Constitutional Tribunal.

Since the firing of the 57 legislators, Congress has not had a quorum of 51 members to convene a session.

The legislature was again unable to achieve a quorum on Tuesday, and Cevallos rescheduled the next session for the coming Tuesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment