Ecuador voters approved judicial and social reforms

On May 7, 2011, Ecuadorian voters approved a series of judicial, social and other governmental reforms backed by President Rafael Correa and approved by the Constitutional Court of Ecuador. The judicial reforms included provisions to dissolve the standing oversight body and replace it with a temporary body to oversee the restructuring of the national court system. The referendum law also allows longer detentions of suspected criminals without formal charges and includes prohibitions on gambling and casinos, limits on bullfighting and cockfighting and bans media companies from owning non-media companies. Legal unrest has plagued Ecuador since September 2008 when voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that expanded presidential authority, including the power to dissolve the legislature and pass laws by executive decree. Despite the stated purpose of the reforms, critics of Correa accused his regime of using the new laws to consolidate power and quiet dissent.

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