Ecuador: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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On April 20, 2005, President Lucio Gutierrez of the Patriotic Society Party PSP was removed from office by Ecuadors Congress following weeks of popular protests. The protests were not led by an organized opposition movement, nor were they motivated by an economic crisis. Instead, Ecuadorians rejected Gutierrez s December 2004 replacement of the majority of the judges on the country s three highest courts with his political allies, an illegal move that had been sharply criticized by the international community. They expressed extreme mistrust of Gutierrez, and a generalized frustration with the country s ruling political class. Gutierrez, a former army Colonel who was part of the junta that toppled the government of Jamil Mahuad in January 2000, has sought asylum in Brazil. Succeeding him as President is his former vice president, Alfredo Palacios, a physician and political independent. Palacios is the country s seventh president in nine years. Ecuador s economy is strong, but its political institutions are in ruins. President Palacios will have to oversee the selection of new constitutional and electoral courts, which were dissolved on April 27, 2005. He aims to work closely with the United States, especially on military and counter-narcotics matters, but has yet to express whether or not Ecuador will continue negotiating for a U.S.- Andean Free Trade Agreement.
- Government and Political Science