The political crisis gripping Ecuador has taken on a new dimension with a decision by the highest court to reinstate 51 lawmakers ousted last month. The deputies were forced out by an electoral court for allegedly interfering with a referendum on a new constitution called for by President Rafael Correa. Supporters of the president, angered by the constitutional court’s decision to reinstate the lawmakers, forced their way into the building in a brief and peaceful demonstration.
Many in the volatile Andean nation back Correa’s call for a new charter that would limit the power of the traditional political parties, blamed for the nation’s corruption and political instability. The president has condemned the decision to put the legislators back in power calling it a “shameless deal”.
As the country’s highest judicial body, the Constitutional Court’s rulings cannot be appealed, but Correa has warned that if the lawmakers try to force their way back into Congress they will be arrested. The leader of the Constitutional Court had to be escorted by police as he left the building on Monday, amid angry protests against the ruling. It remains unclear when it will take effect.