New Constitution: a way out of corruption

On Sept. 28, Ecuadorian voters passed their countries new constitution with an overwhelming majority. The constitution will put more power in the hands of Ecuador’s socialist president, Rafael Correa, and allow him to maintain in office until 2017.Last summer, Correa began drafting with his administration and supporters a new constitution that they hope will bring Ecuador up to a new and improved direction.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Correa reminds the people that it is not time to relax,

“I call on all Ecuadorians of good will and faith to put their shoulders and hearts together and build together the Ecuador that we have been fighting and hoping for and which starting today is approaching reality,” Correa said.

Many supporters of the new constitution see it as a way to drag their country out of the economic hole it has been quickly sinking into. Correa is one of seven presidents this decade and, considering the overwhelming reaction at the polls and voter turnout, he is making an impact on his country.

The new constitution, a whopping 444-article piece of legislation, contains many articles that some hope will send Ecuador into a brighter tomorrow.

Some of the new laws include new rights for homosexuals who are pursuing civil unions, and a ban on transgenic crops. Most importantly, they allow Correa to keep his office until 2017. Also, it gives him the ability to abolish the National Congress once each term, which would trigger an election shortly after.

The Los Angeles Times quotes construction worker Francisco Tuaponte, who said that he barely makes enough money to keep from starving. Previous leaders “ran the country like their own private hacienda for too long. Correa will get us out of the mess we’re in.”

Supporters of Correa say that the new laws will give the president more control over the economy. Critics of the new laws say that this new piece of legislation could turn Correa into a powerful dictator.

Correa has shown strong use of power in the past, such as when he ordered a state takeover of major television stations. The government chalked it up to the owners owing them cash but in reality it is assumed Correa made the move to gain support for the new constitution. The takeover was, in the end, widely popular, according to The Washington Post.

In Ecuador, there has never been a problem with ousting a president that outlived their welcome in office. Three of the seven presidential shifts this decade were completed through a military coup.

An Ecuadorian citizen was quoted in The Washington Post. “We expect a change. We expect the government to meet its promises,” said Beatriz Astudillo outside a polling station in Quito.

The Washington Post quotes Correa, “Today, Ecuador has decided on a new nation. The old structures are defeated,” Correa told cheering supporters in the coastal city of Guayaquil. “This confirms the citizens’ revolution.