Ecuador: 'Constituent revolution' begins

Issue 

Ecuador began to implement its "citizens' revolution" called for by left-wing President Rafael Correa on November 29 with opening of the constituent assembly, made up of elected delegates tasked with reforming the state's institutional framework and drawing up a new constitution.

The 130 assembly members are to meet at the Ciudad Eloy Alfaro architectural complex in Montecristi, Manabi, which for six months will be the centre for political discussions in the Andean nation. The president of the assembly is former minister Alberto Acosta, from Correa's Country Alliance that won a large majority of the vote in the September 30 elections for the assembly and holds 80 seats. Accosta was the candidate with the single most votes.

Among the aims of the assembly is deepening the reform process started with Correa's inauguration as president in January, which aims to construct "21st century socialism", undertaking significant political, economic and social transformations. Another goal of the assembly is to create the basis to achieve participatory democracy.

The new constitution, to be ratified in a referendum in 2008, aims to establish the right to property, housing, social security, and a healthy environment, as well as the right to access education and free health care. Correa has stated he will hand his resignation in to the assembly, in a move to signify that the assembly stands above the existing constituted powers.

[Abridged from Prensa Latina.]