Ecuador: between conflict of powers and good governance – 21/05/2021 – Latinoamérica21

Electoral processes involve a dynamic of transfer. On the one hand, citizens constantly make value judgments about the management of a government or a politician, while those who aspire to power contest the representation through which they assume a so-called popular will that we give them. let’s transfer. This transfer, through the vote, results in a greater or lesser legitimacy for the winners, which serves as a justification for the imposition of an agenda. This dynamic is fundamental in the conflict between the executive and the legislative branch, or the so-called conflict of powers.

In the vote, Ecuadorians elected Guillermo Lasso to lead the country for the next four years. Meanwhile, in the first round, citizens elected members of the legislature, where the president-elect’s party won just 12 of 137 seats. In this context, Lasso will have to seek agreements with other banks in search of governance and avoid confrontation.


Although the conflict of powers leaves aside the resolution of the conflict by praetorian channels, a strong conflict between the executive and the legislature could seriously affect the stability of a government, but not of a regime.

In Ecuador, for the new administration to be inaugurated in May 2021, everything will depend on three factors. First, the ability of the executive to include cross-cutting and popular-supported measures in its agenda. Second, the cohesion of the benches of the Assembly in a logic of governance and not of revanchism. And finally, the degree of social conflict that develops as a result of the two previous factors.

Governance or “good government” in Ecuador for the past 14 years has depended on hyperpresidentialism – predominant in the region – which has virtually shed the checks and balances due to comfortable legislative majorities. This minimized the possibilities for initiatives by unofficial political groups and, within this framework, the struggle for power overcame the plurality and consensus that should characterize a democratic regime.

Presidentialism itself implies a personification of power and, with it, political and social conflict. Therefore, the institutional conditions that must deal with these conflict thresholds become essential. Given the machinery of government cultivated for more than a decade in Ecuador, there is an urgent need for the new president to lead institutionalism under the categorical imperative of agreements and shared goals. That is to say, an effective participation of all political forces in decision-making, in order to establish a legitimate “good government”.


According to official results, the first majority in the National Assembly belongs to the UNES (Union for Hope) coalition, a conglomerate of organizations linked to the political project of ex-President Rafael Correa, which won 49 of the 137 seats. The left-wing plurinational unity movement Pachakutik has consolidated itself as the second force with 26 seats, while the democratic left completes the trilogy of the most voted lists which, in the inaugural session, are expected to lead the election of future legislative authorities.

In this landscape of fragmentation, deals are essential for the ruling party, which has barely 12 lawmakers. The democratic left and the Pachakutik, on the other hand, are called upon to form alliances with other lawmakers to form a majority, if they do not want control to fall down the aisle.

Therefore, the president-elect will have to broaden his ideological threshold to integrate the center-left positions represented by the democratic left and Pachakutik, if what he is looking for is governance and some leeway. The Correismo, in turn, will have to decide whether to consolidate itself in the Legislature – with fragile agreements – or to join the talks, leaving aside the stigma of hermetic political behavior, which translates into an excellent opportunity for l executive to bypass the fight. For power.

The struggle for power has in its genesis a crisis of legitimacy. This dispute has been historic in Ecuador, the product of a multi-party system, added to political culture with a tendency towards personal and / or regional leadership. All this in the context of a presidential regime that has rarely succeeded in establishing executive-legislative “double legitimacy”.

At times like these, it is imperative to reach agreements and set common goals in order to overcome the deep crisis the country is going through. A conflict of powers in this context, in addition to being catastrophic, would be a clear sign of the lack of political will on the part of our representatives. This, in a scenario of tired democracies where commitments and actions for the well-being of the majority are more necessary than ever.

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