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Ecuador judge reinstates ousted legislators in political showdown

[JURIST] A judge in Ecuador on Wednesday reinstated 57 members of the legislature who had been dismissed [JURIST report] earlier this month by the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal [official website, in Spanish]. The reinstatements came one week after Ecuador swore in 21 replacement legislators [JURIST report] in order to establish a quorum for future legislative sessions. The controversy began when the unicameral Ecuadorean Congress [official website, in Spanish] and President Rafael Correa [official website, in Spanish; BBC profile] submitted to the tribunal differing versions of a referendum on amending the constitution [JURIST report]. The tribunal accepted Correa's version, which permitted the constitutional assembly to retroactively fire legislators. In turn, the 57 legislators voted to dismiss four of the tribunal members, prompting the tribunal to fire the 57 [JURIST report] for illegally interfering with their decision. Ecuador's Constitutional Tribunal [official website] then rejected the lawmaker's appeal [JURIST report], leading to violence between the fired lawmakers and police as the lawmakers attempted to enter Congress last Tuesday. Correa called Wednesday's ruling "illegitimate" as thousands of his supporters rallied outside the presidential palace. Reuters has more.

In January, Correa became the eighth president [JURIST report] of Ecuador [JURIST news archive] in ten years on a platform promising to overhaul the nation's economy to fight poverty. Correa has characterized the Congress as a "sewer of corruption" and has expressed admiration for the policies of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez [JURIST news archive].

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