Ecuador Government

Ecuador Government has three branches Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The President is the Chief of State.


The constitution has been changed several times during Ecuador's life as a nation (the new one just finished in August 2008), although the republican, presidential system has been maintained throughout.

The most outstanding versions of the constitution have been the first one in 1830, the liberal one in 1906, the 1946 one embodying social reforms, another one which has been in force since August 10, 1979, having been approved by referendum on January 15, 1978 and the latest one in August 2008.

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Since 1979, some changes were made but none of them have caused an impact, and that's why the actual President of Ecuador: Rafael Correa decided to start a new constitution in 2008.

In 1998, the people chose representatives for a Constituent Assembly that studied the constitution for four months and made the amendments considered necessary.

Ecuador government has Three Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The President, head of the Executive branch, is elected by direct, universal suffrage vote.

The winner must obtain an absolute majority, i.e. over 50% of the votes cast. Should no candidate obtain such a majority, a second runoff election is held between the topmost two.

The President is the Chief of State, serves a four-year term, can be reelected after one period and must be at least 35 years old, and an Ecuadorian citizen in good standing. The president appoints the cabinet members, there are the following ministries:

  • Ministry of Government and Police
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of National Defense
  • Ministry of Finance and Public Credit
  • Ministry of Education and Culture
  • Ministry of Labor and Human Resources
  • Ministry of Public Health
  • Ministry of Social Welfare
  • Ministry of Public Works and Communications
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
  • Ministry of Foreign Commerce, Industry and Fishery
  • Ministry of Energy and Mining
  • Ministry of Tourism
  • Ministry of the Environment
  • Ministry of Communication of the State
  • Ministry of Urban Development and Housing

The Chief of State is also the top authority of the "Armed Forces" and, in times of crisis, has special powers.

The current President of Ecuador is Rafael Correa and has been in office since January 2007.

The Legislative branch comprises the Chamber of Representatives (a unicameral system).

This Congress has 121 members, of whom 20 are national and the rest are provincial representatives.

The Judicial system includes a Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees, which oversees obedience to the Constitution and rules on any violations thereof.

The Supreme Court of Justice, whose members are appointed by the Congress, and Superior Courts of Justice in each province.

Some constitutional scholars consider the electoral authority as an actual fourth branch of Ecuador government.

It is independent of the other three branches, and comprises the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the provincial tribunals, all appointed by Congress.

This authority organizes elections and referendums, and proclaims the winners.

There are governors in each province. According to the law, there should have been one in Pichincha starting on 1996 but the first and only one was removed from his duty after seen that he was just slowing down the processes.

Each governor is appointed by the president of the Republic and acts as the president's representative in that province.

Ecuador is divided politically into provinces, cantons and parishes.

In those cantons containing the provincial capital, there is according to an institution held over from the colonial period, a Mayor elected by popular vote, who administers the canton.

In Ecuador government the mayor has another important duty, it is that of granting orders of habeas corpus.

For example, immediate release of persons detained without having followed legal procedures.

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On September 2007, the people from Ecuador chose (once again) representatives for a "Constituent Assembly" that will study the constitution for around four months and will make the necessary amendments considered necessary.

This new constitution was finished in August 2008 and was approved by the people of Ecuador.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

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But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


See More About Ecuador

Ecuador Geography

Ecuador History

The Galapagos Archipelago

Galapagos Land Tours

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