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, July 28, 2008

Ecuador's Correa Urges Voters to Approve Wider Powers

By Stephan Kueffner

July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, fresh from a special assembly's approval of his plan to expand government power over the economy and abolish central bank independence, urged citizens to support the proposal.

``To the new constitution, yes, a thousand times, yes,'' Correa said today in Montecristi during a ceremony marking the end of the assembly. Correa told the body, which passed the legislation last night and was dominated by his allies, that Ecuador is taking a ``decisive step'' to help its economy.

The new charter, which needs support from a majority of voters in a September 28 referendum, would give the government sole authority to set interest rates and allow presidents a second consecutive four-year term. The document would become Ecuador's 20th constitution.

The step toward a new constitution fulfills a pledge Correa made during his 2006 election campaign and follows a path set by allies Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Correa, a U.S.-educated economist, said during the campaign that a new charter would end chronic political instability and unequal distribution of wealth.

``We will triumph with a decisive and revolutionary 'yes' vote in September, for the new fatherland,'' Correa told a crowd in the port hub of Guayaquil yesterday. He also said he would increase subsidies for the poor next January to offset higher food prices.

Street Protests

Three Ecuadorean presidents elected since 1996 failed to finish their four-year terms in office. In each case, street protests in the capital city of Quito triggered their downfall, with the congress voting on two occasions to put power in the hands of the vice president.

Correa's new constitution may increase stability, analysts said. Still, they said the rules, which would allow a president to dissolve the legislature once a term, are slanted too strongly in favor of the executive branch.

The president may end up with too much power to name members of a new court charged with interpreting the constitution and giving the ``green light'' for impeachment proceedings, said political scientist Simon Pachano at FLACSO university in Quito.

The new constitution wouldn't scrap the electoral system of compulsory voting and proportional representation in congress that has contributed to the lack of stable coalitions in the legislature, he also said.

``There's an excessive concentration of power in the executive,'' said Luis Hernandez, a member of the Ethics and Democracy party, which is not aligned with Correa.

In his speech today, Correa denied accumulating extraordinary powers designed to favor his administration. Correa's allies say the charter strengthens the rights of low- and middle-income Ecuadoreans and boosts their access to social services and the judicial system, while fighting corruption by installing civilian oversight of public services.

No comments:

Post a Comment