Browse the listing below to find government information for Ecuador, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Ecuador at its
Ecuador Country Page.
Constitution: August 11, 1998.
Independence: May 24, 1822 (from Spain).
Branches: Executive--president and 15 cabinet ministers. Legislative--unicameral Congress. Judicial--Supreme Court, Provincial Courts, and ordinary civil and criminal judges.
Administrative subdivisions: 22 provinces.
Political parties: Over a dozen political parties; none predominates.
Suffrage: Obligatory for literate citizens 18-65 yrs. of age; optional for other eligible voters; active duty military personnel and police may not vote.
The constitution provides for concurrent 4-year terms of office for the president, vice president, and members of Congress. Presidents may be re-elected after an intervening term, while legislators may be re-elected immediately.
The executive branch includes 15 ministries. Provincial governors and councilors, like mayors and aldermen and parish boards, are directly elected. Congress meets throughout the year except for recess in July and December. There are twenty 7-member congressional committees. Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the Congress for indefinite terms.
Ecuador's political parties have historically been small, loose organizations that depended more on populist, often charismatic, leaders to retain support than on programs or ideology. Frequent internal splits have produced extreme factionalism. However, a pattern has emerged in which administrations from the center-left alternate with those from the center-right. Although Ecuador's political elite is highly factionalized along regional, ideological, and personal lines, a strong desire for consensus on major issues often leads to compromise. Opposition forces in Congress are loosely organized, but historically they often unite to block the administration's initiatives and to remove cabinet ministers.
Constitutional changes enacted by a specially elected National Constitutional Assembly in 1998 took effect on August 10, 1998. The new constitution strengthens the executive branch by eliminating mid-term congressional elections and by circumscribing Congress' power to challenge cabinet ministers. Party discipline is traditionally weak, and routinely many deputies switch allegiance during each Congress. However, after the new Constitution took effect, the Congress passed a code of ethics which imposes penalties on members who defy their party leadership on key votes.
Beginning with the 1996 election, the indigenous population abandoned its traditional policy of shunning the official political system and participated actively. The indigenous population has established itself as a significant force in Ecuadorian politics, as shown by its participation in the first seven months of the Gutierrez administration, including several key cabinet positions.