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Published: Thursday June 26, 2014 MYT 5:25:03 AM
Updated: Thursday June 26, 2014 MYT 5:25:58 AM

Ecuador ruling party proposes end to presidential two-term limit

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador's ruling political movement presented to the national assembly on Wednesday on a controversial plan to end a two-term limit for the re-election of the president, give new powers to the military and increase oversight of the country's media.

The opposition has fiercely criticized the proposed package of at least 17 reforms to the 2008 constitution with possibly more to follow, which the ruling Alianza Pais (AP) presented to the national assembly where it has a majority.

"All of us AP assembly members have decided to present this initiative," Marcela Aguinaga, the assembly's vice-president told reporters.

The proposals will require approval by the Constitutional Court before legislators can begin to discuss the proposals.

The Alianza Pais' proposal aims to enable President Rafael Correa to seek re-election in 2017 when his second five-year mandate expires, and give him more time to implement his broadly supported socialist program.

Correa has brushed off criticism that he is seeking to cling to power, saying "the alternating of power is determined by the people at the ballot box" and he has not yet confirmed whether he plans to run in the next election.

The opposition has also criticized the government for ruling out the possibility of putting the reforms to a referendum.

Among the other proposed changes would be an additional role for the military alongside the police force in the provision of internal security together with their regular role of providing defence and protecting the country's sovereignty.

The amendments would also increase government oversight of the media and reduce the minimum age to stand for election to the presidency to 30 from 35 at present.

(Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Richard Chang)

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