On November 29, Ecuador's new constituent assembly sat for the first time, beginning the process of rewriting the country's constitution as part of self-described socialist President Rafael Correa's project of refounding the country through a "citizen's revolution".
One of its first acts was to suspend the existing Congress without
pay until the assembly process was completed — taking control of the
country itself for the duration. While this move drew protests from the
right-wing opposition parties, who refuse to recognise the assembly's
authority, Correa submitted his resignation (which was refused) to the
assembly, a symbolic move to emphasis the placing of the future in the
The 130-member body now has six months, with the possibility of a
60-day extension, to draft a new constitution that will then be put to a
national referendum next year. If this is accepted, new elections will
The assembly, presided over by Correa's former adviser, Alberto
Acosta, has already agreed on a set of by-laws and created 10
commissions of 13 members each to address fundamental areas of reform,
including development, fundamental rights, territorial order, work and
production, and the new legislative model.
Elected in November 2006 on a pledge to "refound" the country, Correa
has initiated what he calls a "citizen's revolution" to overcome the
massive exclusion that marks Ecuador, where over 50% of the population
lives in poverty.