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Ecuador's Congress Approves Referendum on Constitutional Assembly


Ecuador's Congress has approved a national referendum on whether to call a popular assembly to rewrite the constitution.

The 100-member chamber passed the request of President Rafael Correa Tuesday in a vote of 57-1.

Hundreds of people, including indigenous supporters of the president, have rallied in front of Congress to demand approval of the request.

Mr. Correa, who took office on January 15, has called for an assembly to limit the power of traditional political parties, which he blames for the country's problems.

In addition to rewriting the constitution, Mr. Correa wants to renegotiate Ecuador's oil contracts and withhold foreign debt payments he considers illegitimate.