In a preliminary vote count, 65% of Ecuadorans approved a new constitution on Sunday. It widely expands the power and term limits of its President Rafael Correa an his theory of a "21st century socialism".
The WaPo reports: "Correa's supporters emphasize that the 444-article document -- Ecuador's 20th constitution -- prohibits discrimination, respects private property, will increase spending on health care and the poor, and enshrines more rights for indigenous groups. In a country rich with ecological treasures, including the Galapagos Islands and part of the Amazon rain forest, the constitution also calls on government to avoid measures that would destroy ecosystems or drive species to extinction -- the first such measure of its kind, according to Ecuadoran officials. The constitution would allow civil unions for gay couples."
It has its detractors: "Opponents of the president say the document would allow Correa to consolidate too much control over the economy, as well as over strategic sectors such as oil and mining, without sufficient checks on his authority. And some voters said Sunday that the new constitution would create a bloated state that will not be able to meet expectations. 'The state will be unable to meet demand due to a lack of resources,' said Lucia Cordero, 42, who was voting in La Floresta parish in northern Quito, an area home to both working-class and middle-class residents. 'It's too statist.'"
In April, Correa said: "Let's be clear that the profoundly humanistic position of this government is to respect the intrinsic dignity of everyone, of every human being, independently of their creed, race, sexual preference. ... We will give certain guarantees to stable gay couples but matrimony will continue being reserved for a man, a woman and the family. ... Every person has dignity, that's to say, one must respect a person independently of their sexual preference. Be careful not to deny employment to someone because of their sexual preference. That is discrimination, that is unconstitutional."
Voters in Ecuador Approve Constitution [washington post]