Ecuador: crisis deepens over constutional referendum

Ecuador‘s highest electoral court fired a judge who tried to return half the country‘s legislators to their posts March 28, as a political crisis deepened over a planned referndum on rewriting the constitution. President Rafeal Correa told 2,000 supporters that day that opposition “political mafias” were trying to block the referendum, and that the Ramirez‘s injunction reinstating the 57 dismissed legislators was “illegitimate.” Some who gathered to hear him speak burned in effigy giant rats with the word “Congress” scrawled across them.

On March 16, the ousted congressmen sought an injunction from a provincial judge in Rocafuerte, but their request was denied and protesters beseiged them at the court. Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, and seven were injured

Most of the fired congressmen have been replaced by alternate legislators. But congressional president Jorge Cevallos called off the new session March 28, saying he would respect Ramirez‘s injunction. (AP, Jurist, March 29; AlJazeera, March 16)

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