Ecuador: easy win for new constitution

According to exit polls, Ecuadoran voters overwhelmingly backed a proposal for a new Constitution in a referendum held Sept. 28. The Santiago PĆ©rez InvestigaciĆ³n y Estudios polling firm showed 66.4% of voters supporting the measure, while Cedatos-Gallup put the proportion at 70%. President Rafael Correa, who had called for the new charter, said the vote was a “new historic triumph” and led supporters in chanting: “The people united will never be defeated.” The center-left president got the results while visiting his hometown, Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest and most prosperous city.

Santiago Perez’s exit poll showed Guayaquil voters backing the new Constitution, despite fears by Correa’s supporters that the city might become an opposition center in the same way that Santa Cruz has become a focus of opposition to Bolivian president Evo Morales, a Correa ally.

The new Constitution, Ecuador’s 20th, allows presidents to run for two consecutive four-year terms, opening the possibility that Correa could govern until 2017; promotes a “social and solidarity-based” economic model to replace the current neoliberal policies; forbids the installation of foreign military bases like the US base at Manta; and grants soldiers the right to vote. (San Jose Mercury News, Sept. 28 from AP; El Universal, Caracas, Sept. 28 from AP)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 1

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