Correa and Congress Set for Showdown

Ecuador’s President-elect Rafael Correa is already hearing threats from Congress that they will block his proposed political reforms.

Correa’s political party holds no seats in Congress.

"This democracy is the property of 13 million Ecuadoreans, not a bunch of caudillos, not a group of political Mafias," said Correa.

The major point of contention is Correa’s call for a constitutional assembly, which would lead to re-writing the constitution and include reforms aimed at granting more authority to the executive branch, rooting out corruption in the courts, and forcing lawmakers to live in the areas they represent.

"Constitutionally an assembly is not possible," said Jorge Cevallos, a lawmaker from Alvaro Noboa’s party and president of Congress.

Ecuador’s Congress created an electoral tribunal on Wednesday aimed at blocking Correa’s reforms. Also, two lawmakers were expelled from Congress for supporting the assembly. Correa has threatened to create his own tribunal.

"The Ecuadorean people will not permit the imposition of any dictatorship of the traditional political class," said Correa. "The people will show their support in the streets."

People have already expressed their support when protestors forced the new Congress last week to officially take office in a substitute building guarded by riot police.

Quito pollster Paulina Recalde told Reuters that because of Congress’ low popularity she expects more protests and turmoil.

Incoming Defense Minister Guadalupe Larriva recently suggested that the armed forces could be used to guarantee the constitutional assembly.

"I insist we have to create a new role for the military. Its role is to guarantee the security of the state and of the government," said Larriva.