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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.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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