Duroyan Fertl

On April 15, Ecuador voted overwhelmingly to ratify President Rafael Correa’s proposal to convoke a Constituent Assembly with the power to re-write the constitution with the intention of weakening the stranglehold on the country of the traditional wealthy elite.

The small Andean nation of Ecuador is facing a political crisis as the Congress and the courts turn on each other over new president Rafael Correa’s plans for a Constituent Assembly and a “citizens’ revolution” to build “21st century socialism” in the poverty-stricken country.

Faced with thousands of protesters, reflecting growing popular pressure, Ecuador’s Congress voted on February 13 to allow a motion by President Rafael Correa for a referendum on a constituent assembly.

Since his January 15 inauguration, President Rafael Correa has set about implementing his plan for changing Ecuadorian society, centred on a “citizens’ revolution” to refound the country and begin the construction of a “socialism of the 21st century” by investing economic wealth in social spending on health, education, housing and the environment.

On January 15, Ecuador’s new president, Rafael Correa Delgado, was sworn in, promising to build “socialism of the 21st century” to overcome the poverty and instability of the small Andean country.

The Latin American left had its fifth electoral victory of the year on November 26, when Rafael Correa, a supporter of Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez, won Ecuador’s presidential run-off election with the largest margin in almost 30 years.

On October 15 Ecuador went to the polls. Having seen eight presidents in 10 years, three of whom were overthrown by a population frustrated by the corruption, ineptitude and nepotism that characterise Ecuador’s elite, the chances of any government lasting out its mandate seem pretty slim. However, the challenge could be in getting one of the pool of 13 presidential candidates even legitimately elected.

People charged over their involvement in a February protest outside PM John Howard’s state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House for media mogul Kerry Packer have called a protest demonstration on the first day of their three-day trial, which begins on October 27.

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