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.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ecuador votes for new assembly

Rafael Correa votes in Quito
Mr Correa said the vote would be complex but democratic
BBC, 30 September 2007
The people of Ecuador have voted for a new constituent assembly designed to radically alter how the country is run.

President Rafael Correa wants the 130-member body to dissolve Congress and cut traditional parties' powers.

Mr Correa, who came to power in January, says the assembly will bring politics back to the people after years of corrupt and inept governments.

But opposition groups say the move will only concentrate more power in the hands of the president.

They accuse him of wanting to turn Ecuador into a socialist state.

Ecuador has thrown out three previous presidents in the last 10 years, and successive governments have been roundly criticised.

'Put aside hate'

The president's party expects to win more than two-thirds of the vote necessary to implement the changes he has promised.

This is the reaffirmation of a change in the times, the light at the end of the tunnel
President Rafael Correa

In a speech broadcast at the start of voting, Mr Correa called for a strong mandate.

"Put aside hate and rancour and join in the construction of a new country," he said.

"This is the reaffirmation of a change in the times, the light at the end of the tunnel."

But the BBC's South America correspondent Daniel Schweimler says more than 3,200 candidates and a complex voting system has left many voters undecided or simply confused.

Among the candidates are several former beauty queens, a long-haired monk who walks the streets urging voters to take from the rich and a masked crime fighter known as The Punisher who says his face is covered because he is allergic to corruption.

There are evangelical Christians and Marxists, offering an array of measures, including a return of the death penalty and nationalising the country's oil industry.

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