Ecuadoreans vote on constitution

Ecuadoreans are heading to the polls in a referendum to set up a special assembly to rewrite the country's constitution.

Ecuadoreans vote on constitution
Ecuadoreans are heading to the polls in a referendum to set up a special assembly to rewrite the country's constitution.
 
A recent Caedatos-Gallup opinion poll showed Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorian president, winning public approval for his plan by 66 per cent of the vote, enabling him to wrestle power from Ecuador's unpopular congress.
A clear win on Sunday would bolster Correa's mandate and allow him to push ahead with reforms such as not extending the lease on a major US military base, renegotiating oil deals and reworking the national debt.
Correa, a US-educated economist who has been in power since January, has staked his political career on the referendum, which has exposed sharp fault lines in Ecuador, saying he could resign if he fails to win a convincing victory.
 
Miriam Alvarez, a mother of three whose home was enveloped by molten lava from the Tungurahua volcano last year, said: "I am voting for the assembly because I believe in change."This assembly will finally give the poor a voice."
 
More than half of the members of congress were fired last month after a dispute with Correa over the referendum.

They fought with police to get back into the chamber, but were sidelined when congress convened with substitutes taking their place.
 
Opposition politicians had been hostile to the referendum plan but Correa, a political outsider popular for promising to curb the influence of the traditional parties, finally won majority backing.
 
Some fear the referendum could allow Correa to become too powerful by centralising the government around himself.
 
But Ecuador's politics have been unstable, with eight presidents coming and going in a single decade, three of them toppled amid congressional unrest, and analysts say Ecuador's political landscape may change by the time of another election in September to select members of the assembly.
 
It is possible that popular Indian groups could temper their allegiance to Correa if he does not offer more radical policies, such as land reform and oil nationalisation.
 
Source: Agencies
Last Mod: 17 Nisan 2007, 16:42
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