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Ecuador History
(Page 3 of 3)

Conservatives and Liberals
Ecuador suffered a long regional conflict throughout the history of its existence as a republic.

The first president, Juan Jose Flores, was highly criticized throughout his term and had to staunch several revolutions that wanted Bolivar's dream to be realized, a Gran Colombia.

After Flores, there were 8 different presidents until Gabriel Garcia Moreno came to power from 1869 to 1875. Moreno's government was characterized by the severity of its politics. Moreno did not tolerate any other religion apart from Catholicism, he pushed education until it was made mandatory and began the unification of the country with the construction of a railroad from Guayaquil to Quito. Garcia Moreno confronted several liberal thinking sectors who finally assassinated him in 1875 during his second term.

The supporters of Garcia Moreno and the liberals fought for power during the terms of 5 more presidents until the arrival of Eloy Alfaro. Since Eloy Alfaro, who began his term as president in 1897, the liberals have governed Ecuador. During his two terms, Alfaro managed to build the railway from Guayaquil to Quito that was begun by Moreno and pushed for national unity. Conservative sectors of Quito joined with the church and managed to assassinate Eloy Alfaro and ushered in a new period run by the Cacao plantation owning liberals from the Coast.

Modern Day Political Life
Today, after living under the rule of military dictatorships during the years of 1960-1980, Ecuador enjoys 25 years of democratically elected governments. In spite of a recent spate of presidential coups and ousters, democracy has reigned.

Ecuador is considered a Democratic Republic. The powers of state are divided into three: the Legislature run by the National Congress, the Executive run by the President and the Judicial run by the Supreme Court. Most of the public posts are filled by elections every four years. Voting is obligatory for the population between the ages of 18 and 65 years old and that can read and write.

The current head of state is Rafael Correa , a 44-year-old left-wing economist who won a landslide election in 2007. Correa has promised to overhaul a decrepit and ineffectual political system. From Juan Jose Flores, the first president of Ecuador, up to Correa, Ecuador has had a total of 54 presidents.

There are different Political Groups in Ecuador, the main ones being: PSC (Social Christian Party) headed by the ex-president León Febres Cordero; ID (Democratic Left) headed by the ex-president Rodrigo Borja; DP (Popular Democracy); PRE (Roldos Party of Ecuador); PSP (Patriotic Society Party) to which the current president belongs. An indigenous led party, Pachakutik, has recently emerged in Ecuador's political scene giving voice to the previously voiceless Native Americans. Members of Pachakutik currently hold key positions throughout the country including the mayorship of Cotacachi.


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