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Archive for Friday, March 9, 2007

Fired lawmakers blocked from Congress by police

March 9, 2007

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— Police surrounded Ecuador's Congress on Thursday to keep out dozens of lawmakers who were fired a day earlier by four electoral judges the lawmakers had sought to impeach in the latest constitutional crisis for the small Andean nation.

The four judges of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal accused the 57 legislators of interfering with a referendum on whether to rewrite the constitution.

Ecuador's new leftist President Rafael Correa, an admirer of Venezuela's firebrand leader Hugo Chavez, sided with the court and was pressing ahead with the referendum, a step the congressmen have called illegal.

The court ruling was part of a clash over a constitutional assembly sought by Correa, who wants to limit the power of a political class he blames for the country's problems.

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