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Thousands oppose Ecuador govt plans
Mayor of Ecuador's largest city says the president is seeking too much power.
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2008 04:36 GMT
Correa has been slumping in recent opinion
polls [EPA]
Thousands of opposition protesters have marched in Ecuador's largest city in protest against government plans for greater state control over the economy.
 
The march, in the southwestern city of Guayaquil, was led by Jaime Nebot, who says the Ecuadorean president, Rafael Correa, is seeking too much power.
"He will never push us around. We will not be guinea pigs of a failed experiment," Nebot was quoted by Reuters as saying, as protesters waved flags and chanted "down with Correa".
 
Correa was elected in 2007 on promises to overhaul Ecuador's foreign debt and renegotiate oil contracts.
Falling popularity
 
Nebot, one of the most well-known politicians in Ecuador, says he will not run for president if a new assembly rewriting the country's constitution calls presidential and legislative elections as early as this year.
 
However, he told Reuters he will run for mayor again in order to use his popularity to urge voters to reject Correa.
 
"If the government does something good I do not oppose that, but if they seek to destroy Guayaquil and if the president wants to become an emperor ... then I will fiercely oppose that," he said.
 
One in six Ecuadoreans live in Guayaquil, the country's richest city.
 
It is also Correa's birthplace and has become a key political battleground for the ally of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez.

Last week, Correa gathered a similar crowd of about 40,000 supporters in Guayaquil to mark his first year in office, in which he has succeeded in regaining most institutional powers from the opposition but also seen his popularity fade.

The president's popularity has dropped to 57 per cent, with polls claiming voters are opposed to his style of government and the failing economy.
Source:
Agencies
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