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, May 19, 2007

Ecuador's central bank to name new chief next week

By Carlos Andrade

QUITO, May 17 (Reuters) - Ecuador's Central Bank board will choose a new general manager next week, board members said on Thursday, after Mauricio Pareja resigned amid a public tussle with President Rafael Correa over the autonomy of the bank.

"We have to handle things with tranquillity," board member Leopoldo Baez told Reuters, adding that the board was scheduled to pick a new manager next week.

Pareja's replacement is likely to be either a close Correa ally or a career technician who would pose little resistance to the populist's plans to boost state influence over the bank, said bank and market sources close to the issue.

Some bank board members, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a strong candidate for the job is Maria Andrade, who is one of Correa's representatives on the independent banking regulatory board.

Andrade has said she was fired as a central bank employee in 2004 during a general layoff and a trial is pending over her dismissal.

The sources said another strong contender is Fernando Uzcategui, a bank board member with a low political profile and no links to the government.

"It is only natural to seek a closer relationship so the government has a more coherent and organized plan," Uzcategui told Reuters on Thursday, hinting at closer ties with Correa if chosen.

Since taking office in January, U.S.-educated economist Correa has increased his sway in Congress, top courts and the influential banking regulatory board.

Correa is a fierce critic of the Central Bank, an institution he argues represents a heavy expense for the state and plays no role in printing currency in a dollarized economy.

However, some analysts said the bank is a key source of independent financial data and studies for South America's No. 5 oil producer.

Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has worried Wall Street with pledges to limit debt payments to prioritize funding for social services in the poor Andean nation.

Pareja quit on Tuesday, according to a statement from the bank issued on Wednesday. The institution gave no reasons for Pareja's departure, just saying he quit "voluntarily."

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