Ecuador president pledges new constitution

Ecuador president pledges new constitution

[JURIST] Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa [official website, in Spanish; personal website] said Monday that he plans to disband the Ecuadorean congress and rewrite the country's constitution [text, in Spanish]. Correa's statement comes only a day after unofficial results in the Constitutional Assembly elections indicated a landslide victory [JURIST report] for his leftist coalition. Correa plans to push for a constitution free of foreign influence and to institute reforms to restrain powerful political parties [JURIST report], increase government accountability, and hold regional, rather than national, elections.

Correa proposed convening a constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution after a referendum to rewrite [JURIST report] the current constitution was overwhelmingly passed in April. The assembly will begin drafting on October 31, although the final proposal will not take effect unless it garners a majority vote in a 2008 national referendum. Critics fear that Correa will follow the lead of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [BBC profile] in using the assembly to expand presidential power [JURIST report]. In April, the congress dismissed the prior constitutional tribunal judges after they ordered the reinstatement of 50 lawmakers [JURIST report] who were dismissed [JURIST report] in February by the country's electoral tribunal for allegedly interfering in the referendum. AFP has more.