Ecuador: voters approve constitution rewrite
According to exit polls released after balloting ended, Ecuadorans voted overwhelmingly on April 15 to support President Rafael Correa's plan for a constituent assembly to write a new constitution. The exit polls conducted by the Cedatos-Gallup firm among 40,000 voters in 21 of the 22 provinces showed 78.1% approving the call for the constituent assembly, 11.5% rejecting it, 7.1% casting invalid ballots and 3.3% leaving their ballots blank. The firm said the poll had a 2% margin of error. About seven million of the country's 9.1 million eligible voters participated.
Correa, who was inaugurated on Jan. 15, considers a constituent assembly a crucial step towards building what he has called, like Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias, "21st-century socialism." Chavez and Bolivian president Evo Morales also called referendums for constituent assemblies after they assumed the presidency. When the poll results were released, Correa announced that he was "happy because it's a victory for the country, not because it's a victory for the government." Hundreds of supporters gathered on an avenue in the north of Quito for a spontaneous celebration.
Elections for the Constituent Assembly are to be held within 150 days. (Associated Press, April 15 via Yahoo en Español)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 15
See our last post on Ecuador.