Ecuador constitutional assembly suspends national congress

[JURIST] The special Constitutional Assembly in Ecuador charged with rewriting Ecuador's constitution [text, in Spanish] suspended Ecuador's congress Thursday pending approval of a new charter in a nation-wide referendum, expected late next year. The special assembly, controlled by leftist President Rafael Correa [official website, in Spanish; personal website], will assume legislative duties until the new constitution is approved and the special assembly calls general elections. Correa pledged [JURIST report] to disband the Ecuadorean Congress and rewrite the country's constitution shortly after his leftist coalition won a landslide victory [JURIST report] in the Constitutional Assembly elections last month. 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. Also last month, Correa urged the Constitutional Assembly [JURIST report] to consider transforming the current Constitutional Tribunal [official website] into a Constitutional Court insulated from political pressure. AP has more.

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. 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.

 

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