QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has accused the nation's bishops of interfering in politics after they commented about a May 7 referendum.
Correa said the bishops' statement was a veiled effort to support a "no" vote in the referendum, which had nothing to do with morals, faith or religion.
"What do the bishops have to do with this consultation?" he asked in a televised speech April 2.
The balloting includes two sets of questions. Affirmative answers to five questions would result in changes to the Ecuadorean Constitution. The other five are about legislation unrelated to the constitution.
In a late-March statement, the bishops called for dialogue, saying, "The very principles of the rule of law are at stake: the independence of the branches of government, the organization of the judicial system and enforcement of fundamental rights and freedoms."
The bishops cautioned against moving too quickly to change the constitution, which was rewritten by a constitutional assembly after Correa took office in 2007. The new constitution was approved in a referendum in 2008.