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Politics

Ecuador has been a constitutional republic with a democratic government since 1976. The government consists of three main branches: executive, headed by the president, currently Rafael Correa Delgado (since January 2007); legislative, the National Assembly, with representatives from dozens of political parties that are constantly interchanging; and judicial.

Between 1996 and 2007, political instability plagued Ecuador once again. The country witnessed a procession of incompetent and/or corrupt leaders. Eight different presidents rose to and fell from power in that decade, three of them elected and subsequently overthrown. Ecuadorians were generally frustrated with their politicians, as is often demonstrated in street protests. In April 2005, popular protest against unconstitutional actions by former President Lucio Gutiérrez brought an early end to his term.

Then Vice President Dr. Alfredo Palacio took over shortly after congress voted to remove Gutiérrez from office. U.S.-trained economist Rafael Correa was elected president in November 2006 and sworn-in to replace Palacio as president in January of 2007. Later that year, several elected members of Congress were charged with violating campaign laws and were subsequently thrown out.

In September 2007, a constitutional assembly was voted into power and drafted a new constitution—Ecuador’s 20th since gaining independence—which was then approved by voters in September 2008. The new constitution grants the executive branch more control, and allows two consecutive four-year terms for the president, vice president and National Assembly members. While supporters welcome the idea of a more stable government with longer elected terms, opponents fear the president’s increase in power could lead to autocracy.

The new constitution also includes a world first: a bill of rights extending unalienable rights to nature using a cap-and-trade strategy. Although this could certainly benefit the biologically diverse and dense country, some skeptics wonder how successful the government will be in terms of implementing this unprecedented concept.

Correa led congress to rewrite the constitution to reflect the progress of Ecuador in 2009, which includes free education through university and provides social security to stay-at-home mothers, as well as extends the rights of the president. It also pioneered an ''eco-constitution,'' extending inalienable rights to nature.

As a result, the Ecuadorian government had been working toward an initiative to keep underground billions of barrels of oil in order to collect monetary benefits from developed countries using a cap-and-trade policy, of which it as intended to do for innovation in renewable energy sources. Unfortunately, in late 2013 Rafael Correa proceeded to remove this initiative (Yasuni-ITT) as the international community did not provide and its growing debt to China became a concern. For more information see: Social & Environmental Issues in Ecuador.

In mid-2013, Rafael Correa and his party passed a bill that would aim to regulate the media throughout Ecuador. This was met with scathing disapproval from the masses fearing its impact on freedom of speech and its ensuing censorship. Correa’s party on the other hand praised the bill for outlawing practices such as “character assassination” through media as well as streamlining the news into a clearer, more effective, to-the-point model. It was often said that Ecuador's news outlets had been notorious for publishing irrelevant and/or misleading articles about events and people in Ecuador.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Ecuador: Business Hours, Ecuadorian Taxes and Ecuador's Economy.








15 Oct 2013




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