Ecuador: stand-off at Congress

Fired opposition lawmakers in Ecuador vow to break a police cordon around the Congress building and reclaim their seats, keeping up the pressure on populist President Rafael Correa. The 57 lawmakers were fired for trying to block a referendum on establishing a body to rewrite the constitution. “Either we all enter Congress or no one will,” said Washington Vallejo, one of the fired lawmakers. “We will defend Congress.” (Reuters, March 19)

On March 13, some 20 of the fired legislators clashed with police after forcing their way into the Congress building. Dozens of pro-Correa protesters also gathered in front of the building, taunting the legislators, who were dismissed a week earlier by the Electoral Tribunal. Correa, who is seeking to diminish the easy ability of Congress to oust presidents in Ecuador, accused the fired legislators of “abusing the misery of the people.” Correa is Ecuador’s eighth president in 10 years. (NYT, March 14)

See our last post on Ecuador.