Some analysts said Cisneros may be the president's final choice to the top police job because Correa has successfully removed older officers from the institution.

 

An ally of Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, Correa has asked senior police officers for their resignation letters.

   

A common practice in Ecuador, it allows presidents to decide who keeps their jobs in a new administration.

  

Shake-up

 

But the officers have refused to comply. Some analysts say Correa may have decided to name each of them to the top job, then fire them to purge the police department without appearing to conduct a major shake-up.

   

Ecuador has struggled with instability over the last decade during which three presidents have been ousted by political turmoil, street protests and congressional battles.

   

Many Ecuadorians were attracted by Correa's call for change. But he could face a struggle with ministers who want to ensure he does not erode their political influence.

  

Death of a minister

 

Correa said on Saturday that he will name a woman to the top security job after the death of Guadalupe Larriva, the country's first female defence minister.
   

"It's important for the ministry to be headed by a woman. Guadalupe's maternal heart was able to do more than the strong hand of the generals," Correa said in his weekly radio interview show.
   

He said that the next minister will also come from Larriva's home province of Azuay

 

Guadalupe Larriva was killed in a mid-air collision of two helicopters after only nine days in office.