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.