CSM: “Ecuador votes to lock in its shift to the left”
The overwhelming approval by Ecuadoreans of a new Constitution that gives leftist President Rafael Correa a tighter grip on the economy puts the country firmly on a socialist track similar to Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela.
“Today Ecuador decided to found a new country,” Mr. Correa said Sunday after nearly 70 percent of Ecuadoreans voted for the new charter. “The old power structures have been defeated.”
With the passage of the new Constitution, Ecuador became the first country after Venezuela in the region to institutionalize its leftward shift, says Larry Birns, director of the Council of Hemispheric Affairs in Washington.
“This is a lurch to the left on the part of Correa,” he says.
AP: “Ecuador has new constitution; opposition worried”
Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa urged his opponents Monday to join his efforts to build a more just society, saying the overwhelming victory of his constitutional referendum gives him a broad mandate.
“Thank God my triumph was so convincing and so crushing, beyond all our expectations,” he told international reporters at a breakfast. “Let’s hope they reflect and let the country advance peacefully.”
With 90 percent of ballots counted, 64 percent of Ecuadorean voters approved the measure, according to official results. Correa got the majority he needed in all but two of Ecuador’s 24 provinces.
The 20th constitution in the history of this chronically unstable nation considerably broadens Correa’s powers and will let him run for two more consecutive terms, consolidating what he calls a citizen’s revolution.
NY Times: “President Wins Support for Charter in Ecuador”
Ecuador’s president, the leftist Rafael Correa, won easy approval of a new Constitution on Sunday that enhances his power in the chronically unstable Andean country while introducing a range of other measures, including raising pension payments for the poor and prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Following a huge spending campaign by Mr. Correa’s government, voters approved the Constitution by 63 percent to 29 percent, according to early unofficial returns.
The victory reflects festering resentment against Ecuador’s traditional political class and hopes that Mr. Correa, an American-educated economist, can broaden the reach of antipoverty programs. Repeated economic crises in Ecuador have prompted more than 10 percent of the population to emigrate.
And finally, Andes scholar Miguel Centellas has some interesting observations here and here.
Image credit: yesterday’s front page from La Hora newpaper in Quito. Via the Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages feature.