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's constitutional court ratifies decision to oust 57 Ecuadorean lawmakers

April 5, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador: Ecuador's constitutional court upheld a decision by the electoral tribunal to fire more than half of the politically unstable nation's legislature, in a victory for new leftist President Rafael Correa's push to write a new constitution.

The president of the Constitutional Tribunal said late Wednesday the court decided not to consider a petition brought by 57 ousted legislators seeking to return to their posts because the suit did not fulfill technical requirements.

All three branches of government have been in a state of chaos since March, when the country's highest electoral court fired the 57 lawmakers, accusing them of interfering with an April 15 referendum on the need for a new charter

The congressmen had approved President Rafael Correa's referendum plan in February, with the condition that an assembly elected to write the new constitution would not be able to dissolve the legislature.

But the electoral tribunal approved Correa's request that the assembly have unlimited powers, causing the congress to fire the president of the court.

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

On Tuesday, congressional president Jorge Cevallos called off what would have been the first session in nearly a month, saying Ecuador's legal chaos "has worsened."

Most of the fired congressmen were replaced by alternate lawmakers when a provincial judge ruled last week they had been illegally ousted.

But Wednesday's ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal, which said the case was inadmissible since only one of the 57 deputies presented the petition in writing, overrides that injunction.

Correa, who took office Jan. 15 and whose party holds no seats in congress, has said he will not respect any decision to block the referendum.

Correa has called congress "a sewer of corruption" and is pushing for a new charter to limit the power of traditional political parties, which he blames for the country's instability.

He is Ecuador's eighth president in a decade.

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