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Ecuador lawmakers convene despite legislature suspension

[JURIST] About 60 members of the 100-member Ecuadorian Congress [official website] met at a hotel in Quito Thursday despite being suspended [JURIST report] by the special Constitutional Assembly in late November. Head of Congress Jorge Cevallos had said [press release, in Spanish] when the Congress disbanded in November that legislators were merely going on their normal recess and would return as scheduled in January. He called an indefinite recess decreed by the Assembly "illegal and unconstitutional" and said the Congress is "empowered, in extreme cases, to meet in any part of the country." Constitutional Assembly leader Alberto Acosta, meanwhile, told Reuters that the Assembly will ignore any decisions by the Congress. Reuters has more.

The special Constitutional Assembly is charged with rewriting Ecuador's constitution [text, in Spanish]. Controlled by leftist President Rafael Correa [official website, in Spanish; personal website], it will assume legislative duties until the new constitution is approved and general elections are called. Correa, who previously pledged to disband the Congress, is pushing for a constitution free of foreign influence and institution of reforms to restrain powerful political parties [JURIST report], increase government accountability, and hold regional rather than national elections.

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