Project Report Ecuador Technical Observation Project, May and July, 1996
The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal invited IFES to participate in the General Elections on May 19, 1996 and the second round elections on July 7, 1996. IFES' activities in Ecuador consisted of sending one training and civic education consultant, Ms. Marta Maria Vi11aveces, for two weeks, in preparation of both the first and second round of elections. IFES' activities also included sending a team of three technical observers for both the May 19 and the July 7 election days.
Ms. Villaveces traveled to Quito, Guayaquil, Loja, and Manabi Province prior to the May elections and to Quito and Guayaquil before the July elections. The May observation team consisted of Christian Nadeau, IFES Deputy Director for the Americas Program (observer in Quito, Pichincha Province); Karen Seiger, IFES Program Officer (observer in Portoviejo, Manabi Province); and Timoteo Raul Niz Paniagua, Paraguayan Electoral Tribunal (observer in Guayaquil, Guayas Province). The July observation team was made of Ambassador George Jones, IFES Director for the Americas Program (observer in Quito); Rebecca Reichert, IFES Program Assistant (observer in Guayaquil); and Augusto Soliz Sanchez, from IFES/Bolivia (observer also in Guayaquil). The observations and recommendations in this report are based on the reports of these people who visited different parts of the country.
The offices being elected in the first round included the president and vice president of the republic, national deputies, provincial deputies, prefects, provincial council members, mayor or president of municipal councils, and municipal council members. In the second round, the office of president of the republic was being elected.
Overall, there was a good sense of civic spirit on election day. Other than the problems encountered throughout the country as outlined below, none of the observers noted anything anomalous about the voting process. The armed forces and the national police were very well trained, disciplined, courteous, and involved in the process. A number of times, observers saw soldiers assisting the process by maintaining order in the lines and looking at voter identification cards to help the pollworkers find the voter on the registry.
This report conveys the observations and findings of the training consultant and the election observation team, as well as recommendations to address the major issues at hand.