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

Government candidates leading Ecuador assembly elections - 2nd Update, 1 October, 2007
Quito - The government of left-wing populist President Rafael Correa was winning in Sunday's election of a constituent assembly in Ecuador, according to an exit poll. According to the survey results issued by the institute Investigacion y Estudios shortly after polls closed, Correa's Alianza Pais party was in line to win at least 64 seats in the 130-member assembly.

The constituent assembly was called by Correa in hopes of rewriting Ecuador's constitution.

The exit poll gave candidates backed by the president 15 of 24 nationally elected seats.

Another 100 seats were to be distributed to candidates by province, and a further six to candidates chosen by Ecuadorians living abroad. In Ecuador's two most populous provinces, exit polls gave Correa eight seats of the 18 granted to Guayas province and 10 of the 14 from Pichincha province.

Based on these predictions, Correa, 43, said that the constituent assembly will carry out a "democratic revolution" in Ecuador and claimed that the Ecuadorian people were victorious in Sunday's election.

"In this new era, an institutional re-engineering is required, a new look at environmental, labour, economic and social aspects that gives access to the benefits of progress," a visibly moved Correa said.

Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, insisted that his own 21st century socialism in Ecuador is not to be feared.

"We are good people, like the majority of Ecuadorians, and the only thing we want is a homeland for all. There are no hidden agendas," he said.

The constituent assembly is scheduled to start working on October 31 in the small coastal town of Montecristi. The assembly is to draw up a text within six months, which could be extended for an additional three months.

Correa campaigned in favour of Alianza Pais. He has vowed to resign if denied his goal of an absolute majority of 66 seats in what he called "the mother of all battles," after making the assembly his main proposal as president.

Voting took place with no major incidents, according to observers from the Organization of American States, the European Union and the private Carter Centre.

As he opened the polls Sunday, Correa called Ecuadorians to set aside their differences in favour of what he called the "new homeland" of the 21st century. He set an unusually conciliatory tone and did not attack his opponents.

Official results were not expected for 20 days, though a quick count was to be made public late Sunday by a non-governmental organization.

The vote count appeared difficult, because there were 3,229 candidates for the 130 seats in the assembly. Some 9.4 million Ecuadorians were eligible to vote.

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