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Ecuador votes to lock in its shift to the left

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Also, as in Venezuela, the Constitution allows for presidents to serve two consecutive terms, which means Correa himself could be in power until 2017.

Gabriela Calderón, an Ecuador-based analyst who edits the libertarian Cato Institute's Spanish-language website, says the drafters of Ecuador's new constitution have taken more than a few pages from Venezuela's leftist charter.

"There are a lot of similarities in the wording on private property, for example," she says.

But she warns that Ecuador's new Constitution is "even more radical than Venezuela's," noting, for example, that the charter strips the central bank of its autonomy.

That provision was one of the constitutional amendments that Venezuelans rejected in a referendum late last year.

The approval of the Constitution "goes in line with the changes that all of Latin America is seeing," Correa told CNN En Español in an interview after his electoral triumph.

However, Correa often makes it a point to distinguish himself from Chávez and says his own "Citizens' Revolution" responds to the demands of his countrymen, not Venezuela's regional agenda.

The passage of Ecuador's socialist Constitution "is helpful to Chávez's regional project but it is not caused by it," says Ted Piccone, deputy director for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "Both Chávez and Correa are responding to long pent-up demands for change in their own countries."

Correa: a leftist, but no Chávez

Correa has marked differences with Chávez, especially on foreign policy.

Notably, he has kept Ecuador out of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), Venezuela's answer to a US-promoted regional free-trade agreement known as FTAA, and refused to follow Venezuela's lead in reestablishing relations with Colombia after a brief diplomatic crisis among the three countries in March.

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