Ecuador: Referendum Observation

Publication Date: 
31 Jul 1996

Publication Type:


Executive Summary

The Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) invited the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) to observe the November 26, 1995 referendum. Mr. Patricio F. Gajardo, IFES Program Officer for the Americas & Caribbean, was assigned to travel to Ecuador to observe this electoral process. The observation of this referendum provided IFES with valuable information on the present political reality of the country and of the electoral system, where IFES expects to work in the future.


IFES was authorized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAlD) in Washington, DC to observe the November 1995 referendum. The Project Officer assigned to observe these elections met with different key participants in the electoral process, such as election officials, representatives of political parties, and leaders of civic groups.


This report will focus on the country's political reality, the activities developed and accomplished during the five-day visit, and on the future project activities that are needed to be done in preparation for the May 19, 1996 general elections and for a possible second-round schedule for July 7, 1996. This report will also analyze different possibilities of working in Ecuador after the May elections.


IFES recommends that USAID consider assistance in the following areas:


Civic Education Campaigns


The TSE will assume the responsibility of organizing the electoral process, to look after its normal execution, and to guarantee the popular will. One of the main areas of work the TSE will focus on is in the preparation of a strong civic education campaign throughout the country. Due to the new legal reforms approved in a plebiscite in 1994 (e.i. Participation of independent candidates in all public posts) and the reform adopted by the TSE in renovating all Provincial Tribunals, the need for a strong civic education campaign is essential. IFES recommends to support these important endeavors by providing the TSE with technical civic education assistance along with the creation of electoral materials.


Civil and Electoral Registries


During the five-day observation mission, the IFES Program Officer met with various election and political authorities who stressed the urgent need of assistance in specific matters like depuration of the electoral registry. The lack of communication between the Civil Registry and the TSE is the main problem to solve in the near future, so that future voters' list can be brought up to date and modernized at the same time.


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