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Ecuadorean President Announces Return of Wealth Distribution Bills

Quito, December 9 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa stated Tuesday that a pair of bills aimed at redistributing wealth in the country would come before the National Assembly in the coming months. 

"It is time to democratize wealth. Nothing justifies the stunning accumulation of property in the hands of very few families. That can only be explained by centuries of exclusion," said Correa during a ceremony to commemorate the founding of the Southern city of Loja. 

The bills, aimed at addressing inequality in the country, were originally presented by President Correa in June and would see wealthy and upper middle classes paying higher taxes on inheritances and capital gains.

Right-wing political sectors balked at the proposals and engaged in a deliberate misinformation campaign, alleging the bills would impact middle-class and lower-income Ecuadoreans when in fact they would only affect the top two percent of the population. 

The bills also prompted numerous and occasionally violent protests.  In an effort to promote dialogue, President Correa opted to temporarily withdraw the bills and lead a conversation in the country around equity, wealth redistribution, and other mechanisms to address inequality. Those dialogues are meant to conclude in December. 

Correa also challenged the opposition to prove that bills would negatively impact lower-income people, saying he would withdraw them definitively if that were the case. Since they have not, Correa feels confident about reintroducing the bills. 
   
Critics also suggested the bills were aimed at generating income for the state in light of the drop in the price of oil, despite the fact that these sorts of taxes are inefficient at generating income. 

“Hopefully they will understand that these laws are not circumstantial in order to overcome a supposed crisis, but structural measures to change endemic problems of the country, so that the few who are born with a silver spoon redistribute a little for the many who are born with nothing," said Correa.

The Ecuadorean president also signaled that a new series of amendments would soon be presented to the National Assembly. A package of 15 amendments was approved last week with a vote of 100 to eight after a year-long process where the contents of the amendments were shared in dozens of public meetings throughout the country. 

The new proposed amendments would need to be reviewed by Ecuador's Constitutional Court to determine if they should be approved by the National Assembly or via a referendum.

In his speech, Correa said the new amendments would touch on topics such as: the organization of the judicial system, the method for the recognition of political parties, and the means elections are held for provincial prefects. 
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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