Ecuador is a country situated in north-western South America. It shares borders with Colombia (north), Peru (east and south), and the Pacific Ocean (west). The territory of Ecuador also extends to the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, 620 miles west of the mainland. The capital city is of Ecuador is Quito, with the largest city being Guayaquil; Spanish is the official language in the country and is spoken by most of the population, although thirteen Amerindian languages are also widely used, including Quichua and Shuar.
Ecuador is a sovereign state and a middle-income representative democratic republic. It has a developing economy that is focussed mainly on commodities such as petroleum and agricultural products. The country is governed as a democratic presidential republic and is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world as home to many endemic plants and animals, including those of the Galápagos Islands. Ecuador’s newest constitution of 2008 is the first internationally to feature enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.
The Ecuadorian State is made up of five branches of government: the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, the Judicial Branch, the Electoral Branch, and Transparency and Social Control.
The Executive Branch
The President of Ecuador is the leader of the executive branch of government, a post currently held by Lenin Moreno. The president is accompanied by the vice-president (Jorge Glas, at present), and is elected for a four-year term with the possibility of a single re-election. The president is head of state and the chief government official, and has several public administration duties, which include the appointment of national coordinators, ministers, ministers of State, and public servants. The executive branch is responsible for defining foreign policy and appointing the Chancellor of the Republic, as well as overseeing the Armed Forces of Ecuador, National Police of Ecuador, and appointing other authorities. The president's wife is known as the First Lady of Ecuador.
The Legislative Branch
The power of the legislative branch of the Ecuadorian government is vested in the National Assembly, which is based in the city of Quito in the Legislative Palace. It is made up of 137 assemblymen who are divided into ten committees, each elected for a term of four years. There are two Assembly members elected from each province in Ecuador, as well as one for every 100,000 inhabitants or fraction exceeding 150,000 in the country, as stated by its latest national population census. Statute also determines the election of assembly of regions, as well as metropolitan districts.
The Judicial Branch
The main body of Ecuador judiciary is embodied by the Judicial Council, which also includes the National Court of Justice, provincial courts and lower courts. The Judicial Council makes legal representation, while the National Court of Justice is made up of 21 judges, each elected for a nine-year term. Judges are renewed by thirds every three years in accordance with Ecuador’s Judicial Code, and are elected by the Judicial Council based on opposition proceedings and merits. The justice system of Ecuador is supported by two independent offices: the public prosecutor, and the public defender.
The Electoral Branch
The electoral system is overseen by authorities who participate only every four years, or when elections or referendums take place. The main functions of the electoral branch are to organize and control elections, and to punish the breaking of electoral rules. The National Electoral Council is its main body and is based in the city of Quito – it consists of seven members of the political parties most voted-for, and has complete financial and administrative autonomy. Along with the electoral court, this body forms the Electoral Branch.
The Transparency and Social Control Branch
The Transparency and Social Control branch is composed of the following organs: the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control, an ombudsman, the Comptroller General of the State, and the superintendents. All members of the Transparency and Social Control branch hold office for five years at a time. The primary responsibility of this branch is the promotion of transparency by making social control plans public, in addition to creating design mechanisms that combat corruption. It also designates functionality to particular authorities, and is the regulatory mechanism of accountability throughout Ecuador.