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, August 15, 2007

3,000 candidates from all walks of life seek chance to write Ecuador's new charter

IHT, August 13, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador: Professional athletes, television celebrities and the brother of a disgraced president are among the odd crop of candidates for the assembly that will rewrite the Ecuadorean Constitution.

About 3,000 candidacies were announced Monday — many with no government experience at all. Ecuadoreans will have six weeks to weed through the sea of wannabes to elect 130 representatives to the constitutional assembly.

President Rafael Correa, Ecuador's eighth president in a decade, called for a new constitution to reduce the power of the "political mafia" he says runs the country.

Gilmar Gutierrez — the brother of former President Lucio Gutierrez, who was ousted in April 2005 amid massive street protests — launched his campaign for the assembly by promising the impoverished nation economic stability.

He told Ecuavisa television on Monday that he would seek a constitution that punishes presidents who want to "wash their hands" of political failings "like the current one."

Correa has insisted the assembly have the power to dissolve Congress, which he has called "a sewer of corruption," and dismiss any elected official. That proposal drove the country into a legal crisis that left Congress closed for more than a month earlier this year.

On Monday, Interior Minister Gustavo Larrea reiterated that the government will seek to dissolve Congress should it win control of the assembly.

Correa's critics fear the Correa could wind up controlling the assembly and seeking dictatorial power.

Candidates for the assembly are given campaign funding from the state — private funding is prohibited — and will have equal air time for political advertisements.

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