Saturday, April 14

Ecuador's referendum

Ecuador holds a referendum tomorrow on whether to elect a constituent assembly that would draft a new constitution (to be approved in a future referendum) and limit the role of Congress. President Rafael Correa was elected last year on a pledge to break the hold on power of corrupt political parties, and this referendum is the first step in the process. Polls show about 60 percent support for the referendum, and Correa says he will resign if the measure fails. Reuters provides some details on the referendum.

After Congress tried to block the referendum, the Constitutional Court fired 57 of 100 legislators, telling their parties to find replacements. After a month of legal and political wrangling, the new Congress met this past week.

Mary O'Grady of the Wall Street Journal raises an alarmist warning that Ecuador is following Hugo Chavez's Venezuela down the path to autocracy and "mobocracy". There is certainly a danger that Correa will drift in that direction, but O'Grady seems to dismiss a little too quickly the fact Correa was not only elected "fair and square", as she concedes, but on a platform of doing pretty much what he's doing now, and maintains a 60 percent approval rating.

Shelley McConnell of the Carter Center, and Terry McCoy of the University of Florida, view the referendum as mostly positive, or at least worth a try given the current state of Ecuador's political system.

1 comment:

Gabe said...

I had to write about that referendum at VOA last night.. but i never ever got a second source on whether Correa booted the World Bank representative from Ecuador - which he very well may have done.

Dude is the spitting image of Chavez.

Now get back to writing about Africa -- have you seen or eaten any big bugs? Any weird skin problems yet? I woke up one morning in Thailand covered in leopard spots... it was weird.