State and politics
Politically and constitutionally, Ecuador is one of the
most unstable countries in Latin America. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how EC can stand for Ecuador. The country has
had no less than 18 different statutes since independence in
1830, and in 1997–2007 the country had eight different
presidents. The most recent constitution was approved in a
referendum in September 2008. The president has great power
and is both head of state and government. The president is
elected in general elections in two rounds for a term of
four years and can be re-elected once. The constitutional
amendment that was implemented in 2015 on the initiative of
Rafael Correa (President 2007–17), which allowed the
President to be re-elected an unlimited number of times, was
abolished following a 2018 referendum.
A single-chamber parliament holds the legislative power.
The number of seats in Parliament is adjusted to the
population of the different provinces. The sitting
parliament, elected in 2017, has 137 members. By law, voting
is compulsory for all citizens between the ages of 18 and
65. The country's large indigenous population gained full
voting rights only in 1978.
The party system in Ecuador has long been fluid and the
parties are small. The former leading political forces in
the country, the right-wing party Partido Social
Cristiano (PSC), the populist party Partido
Roldosista Ecuatoriano (PRE) and the left-wing party
Izquierda Democrática (ID) have all stepped into
the background. In the 2013 congressional elections,
President Rafael Correa's Alianza País (AP) became
the largest party with 100 seats.
Correa's presidency in 2007–17 meant increased political
stability and a series of social reforms. He renegotiated
the contracts with oil companies operating in Ecuador so
that the state got a bigger share of the profits. Thanks to
high oil prices, the state was thus able to double public
spending. The increased investment went to new schools,
hospitals and roads and social programs in the form of
support for the poorest groups, including single mothers.
However, his decision to exploit oil deposits in the rich
Yasuní National Park, despite previous promises to the
contrary, aroused widespread protests among the country's
Indian and environmental movements. Correa was also
criticized for imperfection and attempts to limit political
opposition and media freedom.
Ahead of the April 2017 presidential election, the
government coalition appointed Alianza País the country's
former vice president Lenín Moreno as a candidate. Moreno
won the first round of elections but without a sufficient
majority to exclude a second round; There he was pitted
against Guillermo Lasso (born 1955) of the right-wing
liberal CREO and won by a marginal margin (51 percent of the
vote against 49 percent for Lasso).
During his election campaign, Lenin Moreno had promised a
continuation of Rafael Correa's "citizen revolution", but
soon he began to criticize his representative who he accused
of imperfection and corruption, leading to an open conflict
The legal order in Ecuador is predominantly of Spanish
origin and is dominated by major codifications of the
French-Spanish type, first and foremost the Civil Code, the
Civil Procedure Code, the Trade Code, the Penal Code, the
Penal Code and the Labor Code.
The judiciary consists primarily of local judges (in
disputes) and provincial judges (in criminal cases). In
addition, there are appellate courts and a supreme court.
The death penalty was abolished in 1906.
Ecuador is characterized by ethnic diversity and great
social inequality. Despite the generally elevated standard
of living, deep gaps in prosperity and prosperity remain.
Indigenous peoples and Afro-Ecuadorians are particularly
affected by poverty.
Corruption in the police and judicial system is another
difficult challenge for Ecuador. Impunity is widespread for
torture, and extrajudicial executions occur. The Ecuadorian
prisons are in many ways overcrowded and understaffed. Many
inmates suffer from food and water shortages and lack access
to adequate care.
In 2013, Parliament passed new media laws, which have
been criticized for enabling censorship and arbitrary
prosecution of journalists, and empowers the government and
judges to decide whether information can be considered
truthful. In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index
for 2015, Ecuador is ranked 108 out of 180 countries
Women and girls in Ecuador have the right to seek
abortion only when their health or life is in danger.
Threats of criminal penalties as a prison drive many women
and girls to illegal and unsafe abortions. Violence and
sexual violence against women are widespread and rarely
infiltrated by the justice system. Trafficking in women and
children occurs for the purpose of exploiting them sexually
or for the purpose of exploiting them for forced labor.
With the 2008 Constitution came free education and social
benefits for unpaid domestic workers. Little progress has
also been made in making education accessible to
disadvantaged classes, indigenous people and women. The
constitution also recognizes the right to same-sex marriage,
but obstacles still remain for the LGBTQ group in the form
of negative attitudes in society. Out of fear of harassment
and freezing, many still hide their sexual orientation.
Heads of State
Presidents (in selection)
||Juan José Flores
||Juan José Flores
||Vicente Ramón Roca
||Gabriel García Moreno
||Gabriel García Moreno
||Iqnacio de Veintemilla
||José Plácido Caamaño
||Carlos Arroyo del Río
||Carlos Arosemena Tola
||Camilo Ponce Enríquez
||Carlos Arosemena Monroy
||Otto Arosemena Gómez
||José María Velasco Ibarra
||Léon Febres Cordero
||Sixto Durán Ballén
||Fabián Alarcón (interim)
||Gustavo Noboa Bejarano
||Lucio Gutiérrez Borboura
||Alfredo Palacio González