2011-01-20 09:19:59

Ecuador is a sovereign, unitary, independent, democratic, pluricultural and multiethnic state (Constitution, art. No.1).

Ecuador is a Presidential Republic with a Constitutional Democratic Government headed by a president. From August 10, 1998 there is a new Constitution approved by a National Assembly, which introduced substantial changes to fortify the President’s roll in relation to the Congress, to give more independence to the judicial system and to more widely define the rights of the minorities. Suffrage is compulsory for literate persons 18 to 65 years of age and optional for other eligible voters over 18 years of age.The Government has three independent branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. There is an autonomous Electoral Agency (Tribunal Supremo Electoral).

The Executive branch includes 15 Ministries and several cabinet-level Secretariats headed by presidential appointees. The President also appoints the Provincial Governors, who represent the central government at the local level. Local voters directly elect Provincial Prefects, Councillors, and Municipal Mayors.

The President is the Head of State, Head of the Government and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The President and Vice President are elected jointly in direct universal suffrage for a term of four years. Presidents and Vice Presidents may be re-elected after an intervening term. The President appoints the Cabinet Ministers, who head the following Ministries:

  • Government and Police
  • Foreign Affairs
  • National Defense
  • Economy and Finance
  • Education and Culture
  • Labor and Human Resources
  • Public Health
  • Social Welfare
  • Public Works and Communications
  • Agriculture and Livestock
  • External Trade, Industry, Fishing and Competitiveness
  • Energy and Mining
  • Tourism
  • Urban Development and Housing
  • Environment

The Legislative branch of the Government comprises the National Congress: a unicameral, legislative body responsible for passing laws and supervising the executive power. The National Congress is conformed by 123 deputies, directly elected on multiparty elections that serve for a period of four years.The National Congress approves International Treaties, the Fiscal Budget proposed by the Government and passes laws that the President may veto. Only the president has the initiative to submit bills with incidence on the budget and may also send bills to the Congress on economic issues qualified as urgent.

The Judicial branch is independent and no authority may interfere, according to the Constitution. It consists of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) whose justices are appointed by the Congress, civil and criminal trial courts, the appeals courts, and the Court of Cassation. Ecuador has a Civil Law System and proceedings will gradually turn to Oral, to expedite them.