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ECUADOR News: Opposition Leader Refuses to Disclose Finances/Correa Wants to Reorganize Ecuador into 9 Regions

Ecuador Constitutional Assembly Expels Opposition Leader Noboa

By Stephan Kueffner

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — Ecuador’s constitutional assembly expelled assemblyman and former presidential candidate Alvaro Noboa after he failed to provide a sworn disclosure of his wealth.

Out of 130 members of the assembly, only Noboa didn’t supply the documentation required by the body’s rules, assembly president Alberto Acosta said at a news conference in Quito.

“He alone has picked the option of removing himself from the assembly,” Acosta said today.

Noboa is the head of the opposition Prian party, which controls eight seats in the assembly, compared with 80 for President Rafael Correa’s Alianza Pais party. Noboa, who lost a runoff election to Correa in late 2006, will be stripped of his seat and replaced by an alternate from his own party.

“He is being politically persecuted by the government,” local newswire Ecuador Inmediato quoted his wife, Annabella Azin, as saying. Azin, a Prian assemblywoman, did submit the declaration.

The assembly plans to draft a new constitution by May 24, Acosta said. If voters ratify the text in a referendum, new general elections could take place in October, he added.

Noboa, Ecuador’s largest banana exporter and the owner of 110 companies according to his Web site, had campaigned for president promising to create jobs by promoting trade and foreign investment. He had used Correa’s ties with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to paint his opponent as a socialist puppet of Venezuela.

A call to Azin’s cell phone wasn’t answered. Nobody answered the telephone at Noboa’s Grupo Noboa Corp. offices in Guayaquil.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephan Kueffner in Quito at skueffner@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: January 14, 2008 17:15 EST

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aziJOvpeoyUI&refer=latin_america

Correa Says He Wants to Reorganize Ecuador Into Nine Regions

By Stephan Kueffner

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) — Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said he wants to decentralize the government by reorganizing the country into nine regions.

Seven of the regions will have their own cabinet minister, while the metropolitan areas of Guayaquil and Quito won’t, Correa said today in a speech on the first anniversary of the beginning of his four-year term. He said the move would help the country overcome regional inequalities.

During his election campaign, Correa championed a constitutional assembly as the cure for Ecuador’s political instability and poverty. Voters elected 130 members to the assembly, which sent congress into recess in late November. Correa’s Alianza Pais party won 80 of the seats.

Several opposition parties boycotted Correa’s speech, saying the constitution called for the president to hold his speech before congress, not an assembly.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephan Kueffner in Quito at skueffner@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: January 15, 2008 12:03 EST

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aT5m00AqCplI&refer=latin_america

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January 15, 2008 - Posted by | Bolivia

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