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Ecuador swears in replacement legislators in constitutional showdown

[JURIST] Ecuador swore in 21 replacement legislators on Tuesday night, thus establishing a quorum for future legislative sessions after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal [official website, in Spanish] dismissed 57 of 100 lawmakers [JURIST report] in early March. The controversy began when Ecuador's unicameral 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 legislators [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. AP 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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