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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 03:42 GMT 04:42 UK
Correa 'to shut' Ecuador Congress
Ecuadorean woman consults the ballot paper
The election was complex with long lists of candidates
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has said he will dissolve the national Congress after claiming victory in constituent assembly elections.

Preliminary results show Mr Correa's Alianza Pais party with a strong majority in the assembly, which is to write a new constitution.

Mr Correa says the opposition-controlled Congress is corrupt and inept.

But critics say the reforms will focus more power in the president's hands.

A final tally of votes could take days to determine given the complexity of the vote, but an early official count has given Alianza Pais 80 seats, many more than the 66 needed to control the 130-seat assembly.

The final allocation of seats may take days, if not weeks, given the complicated nature of the poll.

'Strong mandate'

More than 3,200 candidates and a complex voting system left many voters undecided or simply confused, the BBC's South America correspondent Daniel Schweimler says.

Rafael Correa in a photo from 30 Sep 2007
Rafael Correa insists deep-rooted reform is needed

"It's very difficult to deal with Congress and I believe the Ecuadorian people's statement was resounding: Congress must go home," he said.

Earlier he told supporters: "We accept this triumph with great humility and total responsibility," he said. "We know we cannot fail."

The impoverished Andean nation has thrown out three previous presidents in the last 10 years, and successive governments have been roundly criticised.

Referendum

Mr Correa says the proposed constitutional reforms will make Ecuador a more just society and tackle the endemic political instability.

The president's critics say he will use the assembly to entrench his hold on power and this will frighten off foreign investors.

The Constituent Assembly is due to start work on 31 October and is scheduled to last 180 days, with a possible extension of up to 60 days.

The constitution the assembly drafts will then be put to a national referendum for approval.

SEE ALSO
Ecuador president claims poll win
01 Oct 07 |  Americas
Timeline: Ecuador
22 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Ecuador
22 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Ecuador 'expels World Bank envoy'
26 Apr 07 |  Americas
Ecuador MPs seek Colombia asylum
25 Apr 07 |  Americas
Profile: Ecuador's Rafael Correa
27 Nov 06 |  Americas

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