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Ecuador's President Renews Call to Amend Constitution

Ecuadorean President Alfredo Palacio has asked an electoral tribunal to approve a referendum that would change the country's constitution.

The president made the request Thursday, more than a month after the tribunal rejected his first request. He is pushing for a referendum to appoint an assembly with the power to rewrite the constitution.

President Palacio has said a revised constitution is necessary to help restore a permanent government to Ecuador. Popular uprisings have driven three presidents from power since 1997.

Mr. Palacio became president in April after Congress ousted former President Lucio Gutierrez, who had restructured the Supreme Court with his allies. On Wednesday, new judges were sworn in to serve on the court.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed Ecuador's appointment of the new justices, saying he hopes the move strengthens the rule of law and the protection of human rights in the Andean country.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.