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, July 13, 2007

Ecuadors Correa Charges Lawmakers With Corruption

Javno, July 10, 2007
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa asked the country's top prosecutor late on Monday to probe 18 lawmakers he accused of demanding favors in exchange for votes, heightening tensions with Congress.

Last week, Congress overwhelmingly rejected changes Correa proposed to a bill that aimed to increase the powers of a government-controlled banking regulatory board.

Correa, a leftist former economy minister, said several lawmakers asked his government for state jobs in exchange for votes and others were bribed by bankers to oppose his amendments.

The government gave the prosecutor a secret tape of a conversation with one lawmaker. The prosecutor has no deadline to carry out the investigation.

The lawmakers denied Correa's charges.

Since he took office on Jan. 15, Correa has maneuvered to gain control of the 100-member Congress, but in a show of independence, even lawmakers who were sympathetic to his administration have rejected and watered down some of his bills.

More than half of Congress was removed from office in March during sometimes violent clashes with police for opposing Correa's plan to create a popular assembly to rewrite the constitution. Correa was elected last year with a promise to curb the influence of traditional political parties.

"Clearly the government no longer commands a majority in Congress and this could again exacerbate the confrontation between the legislative and executive branches," wrote Alberto Ramos, an analyst with Goldman Sachs in New York.

Congress is scheduled on Friday to vote on a motion to censure Correa's close advisor, Economy Minister Ricardo Patino, after accusations he manipulated debt markets.

Analysts say Correa has lost his slight majority in Congress and lawmakers are likely to censure Patino. However, Correa has the final word on his minister's job.

Correa has said he wants the popular assembly to dissolve Congress which Ecuadoreans widely blame for toppling three presidents in a decade.

The 130-member assembly will be elected on Sept. 30.

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