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.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ecuador president to offer submit his resignation to constitutional assembly

IHT, 28/11/2007

MONTECRISTI, Ecuador: President Rafael Correa on Wednesday offered to submit his resignation to the constitutional assembly, a largely symbolic move that comes a day before the body meets to begin rewriting Ecuador's constitution.

Correa, whose allies control the assembly, vowed to submit his resignation on Friday so it "can decide whether to send me home or keep me in power." His Cabinet members are expected to follow suit.

Assembly members — who gather for the first time Thursday to write a new constitution — are unlikely to accept his resignation. Correa's political movement, Alianza Pais, controls more than 60 percent of the assembly, which was elected in September.

Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is pushing to rewrite the charter in a bid to reduce the power of the traditional political parties that he blames for the politically unstable Andean nation's problems.

He is expected to ask the constitutional assembly to replace Congress with a parliamentary committee until a new legislature is elected under a new constitution, which could take at least a year.

But many members of the opposition-controlled Congress have refused to recognize the assembly's power to fire them and voted Wednesday to recess until Jan. 3.

Congress President Jorge Cevallos denied that recess is a bid to avoid dissolution, insisting that lawmakers will return to their posts next year.

"If they want to be dictators, let them say: 'We're closing Congress," said Carlos Gonzalez, vice president of the legislature.

Earlier this year, Correa pushed new rules through the constitutional court, giving the constitutional assembly power to dismiss any elected official. The move plunged the country into a political crisis that led to the firing of more than half of the legislature in March. They were replaced by alternates.

Correa, Ecuador's eighth president in the last 10 years, has said he wants the country's new consitution to let presidents serve two consecutive four-year terms. He denies he is seeking to stay in power indefinitely.

The assembly has at least six months to draft the charter, which will then be submitted to the public in a referendum.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Chavez both plan to attend the assembly's opening ceremony on Thursday. The pair are embroiled in an escalating diplomatic spat and have traded public insults in recent days.

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