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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Poll: Ecuador president's party would get most seats but not majority in assembly vote

IHT, 10 September, 2007

QUITO, Ecuador: President Rafael Correa's political party will win the most seats in an election for an assembly to write a new constitution, but will fall short of an outright majority, according to a poll published Monday.

Correa's Alianza PAIS party is expected to capture at least 44 seats in the 130-member special assembly in the Sept. 30 vote, fewer than the 66 seats needed to make constitutional changes, according to a national Cedatos-Gallup poll published on company's Web site.

Correa has said he will resign if he does not win a majority in the assembly. Monday was the last day polls could be published before the vote.

Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has vowed to write a new constitution to reduce the power of the "political mafia" he says runs Ecuador and is the cause of the unstable nation's problems.

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

The party of disgraced former President Lucio Gutierrez could capture at least 17 seats in the assembly, the poll showed. The remaining seats would be split among the remaining movements and candidates.

There are more than 3,000 candidates, including television celebrities and athletes, running for the assembly.

The poll, which surveyed 3,116 Ecuadoreans Sept. 4-9, did not say what percentage of voters would vote for Correa's party, but gave instead the number of assembly seats it is likely to win. It had margin of error of 5 percentage points.

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