Ecuador to vote for new assembly
(BBC) Ecuador is set to elect members of a new constituent assembly designed to radically alter the way the South American country is run.
President Rafael Correa wants the 130-member body to dissolve Congress and cut the powers of the traditional political parties.
He says the parties have run the country badly.
But correspondents say a wide array of candidates and a complicated electoral process has confused many voters.
Mr Correa says the new constituent assembly will bring politics back to the people of Ecuador after years of corrupt and inept governments.
The country has thrown out three presidents in 10 years and Mr Correa came to power in January with promises to radically reform the way Ecuador is run.
But more than 3,200 candidates and a complex voting system has left many voters undecided or simply confused.
Among the candidates are several former beauty queens, a long-haired monk who walks the streets urging voters to take from the rich and a masked crime fighter known as The Punisher who says his face is covered because he is allergic to corruption.
There are evangelical Christians and Marxists, offering an array of measures, including a return of the death penalty and nationalising the country's oil industry.
Opposition parties in Ecuador say the vote is simply a way for Mr Correa to concentrate more power in his own hands.
He says the opposite is true.
The president's party expected to win more than two-thirds of the vote necessary to implement the changes he has promised the Ecuadorean people.