Ecuador Public Policy

Latin America

Current policy

Ecuador is a country located in the region of South America. Former Vice President Lenín Moreno won the 2017 presidential election, by barely a margin. He was a hand-picked successor to the leftist Rafael Correa who ruled Ecuador for a decade, longer than any other president. Shortly after the change of power, however, Moreno ended up on a full collision course with Correa and he runs much more moderate politics than the representative.

Moreno has largely departed from the economic policies that Correa pursued and announced plans for major austerity, due to the tough economic situation. The country has received large loan promises, provided that cuts are made in public finances (see Financial overview).

As part of the austerity measures in October 2019, extensive fuel subsidies were abolished, which led to a doubling of the gasoline price. It triggered violent demonstrations. The protests led by the Indigenous Peoples’ Organization Conaie became the most extensive in a long time. The situation soon reminded of unrest that led to three presidents being forced to resign prematurely for some turbulent years around the turn of the millennium (see Modern History). Moreno announced a state of emergency and deployed the military to quell the unrest. He accused his representative Correa and Venezuela’s left-wing president Nicolás Maduro of being behind plans to destabilize his government.

But after almost two weeks, Moreno felt compelled to reintroduce the subsidies, against a promise from Conaie to stop the protests (see Calendar). That meant a significant setback for the president. It also means that the government must try to find other ways to reduce government spending if the promised loans are to be paid out. During the riots, several people were killed, over 1,000 injured and extensive infrastructure destruction.

At that, the corona crisis came in the spring of 2020. At least initially, the pandemic hit Ecuador unusually hard and President Moreno saw himself forced to take new austerity measures (see Economic overview).

During Correa’s time in power (2007–2017), the situation was calmer and Ecuador experienced a major economic upswing. Towards the end, however, growth was halted and the government’s popularity declined. Prior to the April 2017 elections, it was clear that the ruling dominant position of the ruling País Alliance (AP) had weakened. In the previous election, Correa won a grand victory and the AP won an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly (see Modern History). Now, several corruption scandals had hurt the government. In addition, falling oil prices had also failed to maintain the same levels as previously in poverty reduction programs. 2016, the economy shrank. Dissatisfaction with the government also fermented among traditional support groups such as the trade union movement and indigenous peoples.


Despite the setbacks, AP’s candidate Lenín Moreno managed to take home the victory in the presidential election, with 51 percent of the vote in the second round. In the National Assembly, AP lost every fourth term, with the largest party remaining with a good margin. After the election, Moreno’s main opponent, Guillermo Lasso, a former banker who was a candidate for the center-right party Creo (see Political system), objected to the election results and claimed the election was rigged. However, Lasso received no hearing for his protests.

After his entry in May, Moreno chose to seek cooperation with both the opposition and the business community. It soon caused a split within the party. One phalanx supported Moreno while another joined up behind Correa who started calling the successor an impostor. Political turmoil intensified when Vice President Jorge Glas was sentenced to prison for corruption at the end of the year (see Calendar). Glass counts as Correa’s camp. Correa himself settled in Belgium from where his wife comes.

In January 2018, Correa left the party together with 28 of the AP’s members in the National Assembly. This means that the AP no longer has its own majority and Moreno is thus dependent on settlements with the opposition in order to be able to pursue its policy (see Calendar).

The voters initially appeared to stand on Moreno’s side in the power struggle with the Correa camp. In a referendum in February 2018, two-thirds said yes to a proposal to reintroduce a restriction to two terms of office for a president (see Political system). Moreno thus seemed to have the support of the voters to set the point for the representative’s “citizen revolution”. However, when local and regional elections were held in March 2019, the Correa camp did relatively well (see Calendar).

At the end of his reign, Correa was criticized for no more money being funded when the economy was strong. Correa itself said it was due to a “perfect storm” where low oil prices on the world market and weakening currencies in neighboring countries contributed to Ecuador’s exports becoming less competitive.

When Correa decided not to stand in the 2017 election was interpreted as a tactical move – he was expected to allow successor Moreno to “hold the spot” and take on the blame for the hacking economy – and then be able to return in triumph in the 202 elections. instead, he was sentenced to prison for corruption (see Calendar). However, Correa still lives in Belgium and has sought political asylum there.

Read more about the ongoing development in the Calendar.


Official name

Republic of Ecuador / Republic of Ecuador


republic, unitary state

Head of State and Government

President Lenín Moreno (2017–)

Most important parties with mandates in the last election

Alliance País (AP) 74, Alliance Creo-Suma 34, Christian Social Party (PSC) 15, Democratic Left (ID) 4, Pachakutik 4, others 6 (2017)

Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections

Alliance País (AP) 100, Creating Opportunities (Creo) 11, Christian Social Party (PSC) 6, Patriotic Social Party (PSP) 5, Multinational Unity Party (UPI) 5, Avanza 5, Others 5 (2013)


82% in the 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections

Upcoming elections

presidential and parliamentary elections 2021



US military rejected

The government refuses to allow the US military to continue using the Manta air base on the Pacific coast to monitor drug traffic.


Ecuador joins Alba

June 24th

Ecuador joins the regional cooperation organization Alba, created in 2004 on the initiative of Venezuela’s then-President Hugo Chávez. In addition to Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua, as well as some states in the Caribbean, are included.


Correa victory in the presidential election

26th of April

President Rafael Correa wins the first round in the election he announced early, with 52 percent of the vote. In second place, former president Lucio Gutiérrez comes with 28 percent and in third place banana magnate Álvaro Noboa with 11 percent. Correa’s party País Alliance (AP) wins 59 out of 124 seats in the National Assembly and forms a majority with the support of 12 members from smaller parties. The biggest on the opposition side will be the Gutiérrez Patriotic Social Party (PSP) which gets 19 seats and the Christian Social Party (PSC) with 11 seats. The indigenous Pachakutik Party (MPP) wins 4 seats.


Americans are expelled

Ecuador expels two US diplomats on the pretext that they have joined the appointment of police officers to the US-funded drug-fighting program.