Ecuador Government and Politics

According to, Ecuador is a democratic unity republic where the president is supreme head of state. Apart from periods of authoritarian rule (1963-1966 and 1976-1979), the country has been governed by parliamentary principles throughout the 20th century.

General voting rights for all citizens over the age of 18 were first introduced in 1979. Although Catholicism is the dominant religion in the country, the state has been secular since the early 1900s.

Ecuador Country Flag

Reference: Ecuador Flag Meaning

Administrative division

The country is divided into 24 provinces (Galapagos Islands included), ruled by presidential governors; in addition, there are three enclaves. The provinces are further divided into cantons and municipalities.

Separation of powers

Ecuador’s governance consists of an executive, a legislative and a judiciary, as well as a national council that oversees elections, and a national governing body for public activity and corruption. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of EC and its meanings of Ecuador.

The executive power is added to the president-elect and his government. The president, who is elected for a four-year term, is the chief of defense and police, and also selects officials in the top positions within the civil service.

The National Assembly is the legislative power. This is a one-chamber system consisting of 137 representatives distributed among national and provincial representatives, as well as equalization mandates. Representatives of the National Assembly are elected for four years at a time.

The judiciary consists of a superior authority council, the Supreme Court, provincial courts, as well as lower courts – courts, tribunals and litigation courts.

Political groupings

Historically, highland and coastal political elites have opposed each other, and conservative and liberal political tendencies have rivaled the presidential power.

The two political centers in Ecuador are the coastal city of Guayaquil and the country’s capital, Quito, located in the Andean Cordillera (Highlands). These two antagonists’ dominance over national politics was challenged in the 1990s, partly as a result of the emergence of a strong indigenous movement that helped reform the political agenda. New political alliances in the 2000s also led a presidential candidate from one of the Amazon region, Lucio Gutiérrez, to win the election.


The governance set in Ecuador has been characterized by instability for large periods. Since independence (from Spain) in 1830, the country has had 20 constitutional laws, the last of which was introduced in 2008.

Regime and presidential changes have been frequent. In the period 1998–2006, for example, three presidents were appointed before their term expired, as a result of popular mobilizations. These provisions were the expression of a deep political crisis and a growing skepticism towards politicians in general in broad sections of the population. In the public sphere, casting presidents is now considered to be a new democratic opportunity that the people can use when the political system fails.

Ecuador since 2006

With the election of President Rafael Correa as president in 2006, Ecuador entered a 10-year term (from 2007–2017) with the same head of state and one dominant political party, Alianza País. Correa was re-elected in 2009 and 2013 with a startling majority in the first round of elections.

His governments can be said to have restored a general confidence in politics and politicians in broad strata of the population, not least through a state-building project and an active economic redistribution policy. At the same time, the regime was criticized by the opposition for advocating strong state regulation and centralization. An alliance of indigenous and environmental organizations accused him of pursuing an energy and natural resource policy that threatened the environment and exposed the existence of peoples’ groups.

With the election of Lenín Moreno as president from May 2017, Alianza País’ main lines of policy continue.

Ecuador’s national anthem

Ecuador’s national anthem is Salve, Oh Patria, mil veces! (‘Be greeted a thousand times, Fatherland!’) With text by Juan León Mera, tune by Antonio Neumane. It was officially considered a national anthem in 1948 after being in use since 1865.

Ecuador’s defense

Ecuador has voluntary military service with initial service after selection. The total force figures for Ecuador’s armed forces are 40,250 active personnel, with a reserve of 118,000 personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, 500 semi-militia will join the Coast Guard.


The army has a strength of 24 750 active personnel. The material includes 24 light tanks category AMX-13, 123 armored personnel carriers and 49 self-propelled artillery which 44 self-propelled air defense artillery central M163 Vulcan. In addition, the army has heavy artillery, air defense artillery, 14 light transport aircraft, 6 training aircraft and 44 helicopters.

Air Force

The Air Force has a strength of 6400 active personnel. The equipment includes 25 fighter aircraft (12 Cheetah and 13 Kfir), 31 transport aircraft, 39 training aircraft (of which 17 Super Tucano, which can also be used as light attack aircraft), and seven helicopters. In addition, the Air Force has anti-aircraft missiles for point defense and anti-aircraft artillery.

The Navy

The Navy has a force of 9100 active personnel, including 2,150 Marines and 500 semi-military in the Coast Guard. The fleet includes two submarines, one frigate, six corvettes, three patrol vessels, and eight auxiliary vessels. In addition, the Navy has 13 aircraft, nine helicopters, and two heavy and three medium heavy drones.

The Coast Guard has 21 patrol vessels.

International operations

Ecuador participated in 2018 with observers and a small number of personnel in the UN operations in Sudan (UNAMID and UNISFA), and in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Ecuador Head of Government

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