Ecuador's President Rafael Correa may skip 2017 election, with option of later return

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa is praising loyalists who dominate the national assembly for backing his proposal to amend the constitution so he can't seek re-election in 2017.

But there's a catch: The legislation cleared Wednesday night by governing bloc legislators would permit indefinite re-election of a later president. So Correa could run again in 2021 and thereafter without restriction.

A vote on the amendment has not been set in congress, where Correa's alliance holds 100 of the 137 seats.

Opposition lawmaker Mae Montano says Correa's intentions are clear — and unconstitutional. She says only a referendum can enable indefinite re-election.

Correa has been president since 2007. Many believe the leftist's decision to sit out the 2017 election is based on the OPEC nation's economy being battered by depressed crude prices.