Ecuador's President Rafael Correa is expected to call for the shutdown of the opposition-controlled Congress as a new assembly begins to rewrite the country's constitution.

The assembly launched its first session Thursday to start making the changes.

Mr. Correa's leftist political movement, Pais, controls more than 60 percent of the assembly. He has called on the body to dissolve Congress, which has blocked many of his proposed reforms.

The president says the current Congress is corrupt and inefficient. He says he wants to use the assembly to curb the influence of traditional political parties.

Mr. Correa's opponents say he is trying to grab more power.

The assembly will have six months to prepare a final draft of a new constitution and present it to voters in a referendum.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.