Ecuador. In the February 17 presidential election,
President Rafael Correa won a convincing victory with 57% of
the votes cast against 23% for his closest competitor
Guillermo Lasso, candidate for CREO (Create Opportunities).
The victory was expected after the last opinion polls, but
not that it would have such a wide margin. Correa can thus,
if he fulfills his mandate for 2017, become Ecuador's
longest-serving head of state. He also became the first
president since the return to democracy in 1979 to enjoy a
majority in Congress, where his coalition Alliance País (AP)
now received 100 of the 137 seats.
The major political dispute issue during the year was
related to oil exploration in the Amazon area, especially in
the Yasuní National Park. In early October, Congress decided
to support President Correa's proposal to begin oil drilling
in Yasuní within the next two years. According to
Countryaah, the government was
accused by environmental and Indian groups of selling
Ecuador's natural resources to China, regardless of the
environment and local residents, to where two-thirds of the
country's oil exports go. Correa, for its part, emphasized
the importance of oil extraction in order to implement the
government's social policy program and that only 0.1% of Yasuní National Park will be affected by the oil
At the same time, the opposition prepared a
name-gathering to get a referendum on the Yasuní issue.
Significantly, former President Lucio Gutiérrez (2003–05),
who admittedly only finished in third place in the
presidential election, still won the majority of the votes
in the province of Napo in the Amazon.
The crisis package the government implemented complicated
the situation for Bucaram. The unions convened for a general
strike on February 5, 1997, and the president declared that
the government supported the move as it deemed lawful. This
unexpected political move on the part of the president did
not stop his popularity from falling - among other things.
due to the announced large price increases: 1000% increase
in telephone prices, 300% in electricity prices, 245% on
household gas and 60% on urban transport.
With a hitherto unused wording in the constitution, a
minority in parliament declared the president "insane" and
refused to recognize his authority. After three days of
uncertainty over the country's having three presidents,
Fabián Alarcón received enough support from parliament and
the armed forces to take over the country's top post.
However, he did not get the backing of the ruling party.
In a referendum at the end of May 97, 65% of the
population reaffirmed his legitimacy as president, while 28%
rejected it. At the same time, it was decided to convene a
nationally elected National Assembly to change the country's
constitution. The Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant on
Bucaram, now in exile in Panama. He was accused of
corruption and was sentenced to 2 years in December.
On November 29, elections for a constitutional assembly
were held, and it began work on the drafting of a new
constitution. The Socialist Christian Opposition Party got
the most seats with a program of decentralization, the fight
against corruption and the need for drastic economic
reforms. Members of the indigenous peoples' organizations
demanded that the multicultural and multi-ethnic character
of the country be written into the new constitution.
By far, the Harvard-educated economist Jamil Mahuad was
elected president in August 1998. He was the candidate of
the People's Democracy (DP). In October, in Brazil, he
signed an agreement with Peru's President Alberto Fujimori,
ending the protracted border dispute between the two
At its deployment, Mahuad had the support of 63% of the
population and in October took a number of economic steps to
reduce inflation (which was 14%) and the budget deficit.
However, the economic policy of reducing public spending and
streamlining tax collection faced massive rejection by the
population. Workers 'and indigenous peoples' protests in
various parts of the country intensified as the economic