[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2007, 02:27 GMT 03:27 UK
Sacked Ecuadorean MPs reinstated
Congress Vice President Edison Chavez (left) confronts police during an attempt in March to enter Congress
The 57 lawmakers say they were unlawfully dismissed
Ecuador's top court has reinstated 57 lawmakers sacked last month for trying to block President Rafael Correa's call for a referendum on political reform.

The constitutional court's decision follows an appeal by the legislators against an electoral court ruling.

Mr Correa said the decision was "shameless" and did not say if he would accept it as valid.

Last week he won a landslide victory in the poll for an assembly to bypass Congress and write a new constitution.

Announcing the latest verdict, the head of Ecuador's top court, Santiago Velasquez, said the decision taken last month to sack the 57 congressmen and women was unconstitutional.

His court voted by a margin of 6-3 to reinstate the sacked congressmen.

Opposing views

But Mr Correa insisted that the lawmakers had been sacked for incompetence, and did not deserve their jobs back.

"They [court judges] struck a shameless deal with the 57 dismissed lawmakers," he said.

However, the BBC's South America correspondent, Daniel Schweimler, says it is by no means certain that the 57 will be able to resume their old jobs.

Mr Correa has been embroiled in a bitter conflict with the opposition Congress since taking power in January.

He has argued that Congress is corrupt and the cause of many of the country's problems.

Mr Correa's opponents fear he will use the assembly to try and weaken the power of the legislature.

Ecuador leader celebrates 'win'
16 Apr 07 |  Americas
Judge fired amid Ecuador deadlock
29 Mar 07 |  Americas
Ecuador ends Congress stalemate
20 Mar 07 |  Americas
MPs clash with police in Ecuador
14 Mar 07 |  Americas
Ecuador swears in new president
16 Jan 07 |  Americas
Profile: Ecuador's Rafael Correa
27 Nov 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Ecuador
15 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific