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.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ecuador president: constitutional assembly should not dissolve Congress


April 5, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador: Ecuador's new leftist president said Thursday a proposed assembly to write a new constitution should not dissolve Congress but only limit its functions, apparently softening a position that had driven the nation into a legal crisis.

President Rafael Correa has vowed to rewrite the constitution to reduce the power of the "political mafia" he says runs the country, convoking an April 15 referendum on a special assembly to retool the charter.

In February, Congress approved Correa's referendum plan with the condition the special assembly not be able to dissolve the legislature. But the Supreme Electoral Tribunal later approved Correa's request that the assembly have unlimited powers, including the ability to fire legislators and the president himself.

The politically unstable Andean nation was then plunged into legal chaos when Congress fired the president of the electoral court that ruled in favor of Correa's version and the court responded by firing 57 lawmakers it accused of interfering in the referendum.

Legal experts have said both the legislators' firing of the court president and the tribunal's retaliation were on shaky constitutional ground.

On Thursday, Correa apparently backed off his demand that the assembly be all-powerful, which had sparked the reaction from lawmakers, saying "it cannot dissolve" Congress.

"What it can do is limit Congress' functions while the assembly is in session," Ecuador told Canal 8 television from Brazil.

Correa, who took office Jan. 15 and whose party holds no seats in congress, has called Congress "a sewer of corruption" and blamed the traditional political parties for much of Ecuador's instability. He is Ecuador's eighth president in a decade.

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