Monday, October 01, 2007

Landslide for Correa's Socialist Project in Ecuador

The results will take weeks to roll in from Ecuador's hinterlands (and abroad), but all indications are that Rafael Correa's bid to change the Constitution of Ecudaor has recieved the massive support of the people. The apparent landslide (80 of 130 seats) for the Constitutional Assembly is striking as just a few days ago most polls were forecasting a less than majority result for Correa's ad-hoc party Alianza Pais.

Congratualtions to Rafael Correa - a fellow alum of mine from the University of Illinois - where he earned his Doctorate in Economics. Let us hope he can marshall the enormous potential of this small country and turn the tide against poverty and an entrenched elite that has expoited the country while hopelessness festered. Already his reforms have given the country some economic breathing room. But the bond traders are not at all happy and his opponents are likely to get more radical - like in Bolivia. Alos look for more cheap hit-job pieces like this from the media, trying to say Correa is a Chavez replica. It is an insult.

QUITO, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Monday emerged with a strong mandate to dissolve Congress and seek broad reforms after claiming a majority in a weekend vote for an assembly to rewrite the constitution.

The left-winger joins allies Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales in convoking a national assembly to push through a constitutional rewrite and limit the influence of powerful elites who resist his proposals.

A convincing victory for his Alianza Pais, or Country Alliance, party in the assembly will allow Correa to shore up legislative control and push through his "21st Century" socialism and plans for tighter state economic control that have already rattled Wall Street.

Correa on Monday called for his delegates to press for early presidential and congressional elections after the assembly, end the central bank's autonomy and abolish special oil saving funds that restrict government spending.

He also struck a more moderate tone in dismissing concerns he wants to expand his authority and saying his renegotiation of oil contracts would be "friendly," with no deep reforms expected in the energy and mining sectors.

"This is a great slap on the back for the government ... we will take this with great responsibility because we cannot fail," Correa said at a press conference. "No one is trying to establish a monarchy here."

Correa, who came into office in January, wants to purge the influence of traditional parties, which are widely blamed for the instability that ousted three presidents in a decade.

Whole thing



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