Ecuador Elections

February 23rd is election day throughout the country (referred to as “Elecciones Seccionales“).

Each of Ecuador’s 24 provinces will hold elections for the following political positions:

  • provincial governors and vice-governors (“prefectos y vice-prefectos”), 
  • mayors (“alcaldes”), 
  • aldermen (“consejales“), and
  • parish boards (“juntas parroquiales“). 

 

All are elected for 4-year terms without term restrictions.

Ecuador, with a geographic area equivalent to the US state of Colorado, has 24 provinces.

 

Each province is comprised of cantones (cantons) which are further subdivided into parroquias (parishes) that are classified as either urban or rural.

In our case, we live in the town of San Clemente, which is affiliated with the rural parish of Charapotó, located in the Cantón of Sucre, in the Province of Manabí. The county seat of Sucre is the city of Bahia de Caráquez. The provincial capital of Manabí is the city of Portoviejo.

The coastal province of Manabi is subdivided into 22 cantons.

 

In Manabí, there are nine candidates running for prefect (and thus nine political parties represented). The current prefect, Mariano Zambrano has been in office since 2005 and is up for re-election. In our canton of Sucre, there are six mayoral candidates, two of which are female.

Here is the breakdown for the number of candidates elected for each political position in the Province of Manabí:

  • 1 Prefect
  • 1 Vice-Prefect
  • 22 Mayors (1 per canton)
  • 100 Aldermen (urban)
  • 36 Aldermen (rural)
  • 53 Parish board presidents
  • 265 Parish board members

 

There are a LOT of political parties. There are 11 parties with seats in Parliament and 24 non-parliamentary parties. Each political party has a number and color scheme associated with it. For example, President Correa is affiliated with the Alianza PAIS party, with number 35 and its colors are lime green and dark blue.

The name, number and color scheme for President Correa´s political party.

 

Political campaigning is restricted to a total of 6 weeks (January 7- February 20) and consists of an onslaught of tv and radio commercials, posters and flags on vehicles, homes, and businesses, parades of honking vehicles with blaring music, as well as wide scale painting of public and private walls with candidates’ names and their party numbers. 

Walls are a primary way of political campaigning in Ecuador. This wall is located in San Clemente.

 

Voting is mandatory for Ecuadorian citizens between the ages of 18 and 65 residing in country. There is a monetary fine for not voting equivalent to 10% of the monthly minimum wage. After placing your vote you receive a “certificado de votación” or voting voucher that you are required to present for most kinds of applications such as opening a bank account, applying for marriage, etc.

Voting is optional for those aged 16 to 18 and over 65, for those serving in active military duty, for illiterate or disabled citizens, and for foreigners with legal residency.

Election results for the prefect and mayoral candidates will be determined the day of the election.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited 36 hours before the elections and 12 hours afterwards (starting at midnight on Feb 21 and ending at midnight on Feb 24). This law is called the “Ley Seca” or the Dry Law and is a real bummer to unsuspecting tourists and expats! …Sorry, Tom, guess we´ll be celebrating your birthday (Feb 22) this year at home! 

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Ecuador Videos

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Visit Bahia and Stay at CasaGrande

Bahia de Caraquez is a charming place to visit while you are on the Ecuador coast. Known as Ecuador’s “Eco-City,” Bahia (pronounced “Bah-EE-ah”) is the closest major city to Canoa (the location of our beautiful Lots 8 and 9).
Bahia sits on a narrow peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and a large estuarine bay

What to Do in Bahia


Bahia has many diverse attractions, including the city museum containing well-displayed Pre-Incan artifacts that were discovered locally. Museum guides offer tours in both Spanish and English.
Be sure to visit the “Cross”, literally a cross-shaped structure with a staircase inside that leads to a fantastic viewing platform offering a 360 degree view of Bahia, the bay, and surrounding landscapes.

Another must-visit is Chirije, an impressive Eco-Lodge and Archaelogical Museum that is set in a breathtaking and tranquil oceanfront location (lots more, including photos on visiting Chirije in the next blog to come).

There are also tours of the nearby mangrove island Isla Corazon that serves as the nesting grounds for thousands of magnificent frigatebirds amongst other charismatic bird species. A must for bird and nature lovers, Tours are guided by knowledgeable local fishermen who practice sustainable fishing techniques that support the long-term survival of this endangered and vital ecosystem.

Male magnificent frigatebird attempting to attract the lady birds with his red neck pouch


There are also 1-3 day tours of the wonderful Rio Muchacho organic farm where you discover how to prepare your own coffee and chocolate straight from the plants! Visit: http://www.riomuchacho.com for more information.

Where to Stay in Bahia


So while you are checking out all that the Bahia area has to offer, we highly recommend you consider staying at CasaGrande. English-speaking Patricio Tamariz and his mother Flor Maria (who incidentally own the Chirije eco-lodge mentioned above and also created the first organic shrimp farm in Ecuador) offer superb accommodations at their lovely little ocean view guest house.
CasaGrande offers six accomodations that vary in cost between $61 and $98 for 2 people (price includes tax). Additional guests cost $20 each. Amenities include pool, private bath with hot water (sometimes hard to find in hotels along the coast!), air-conditioning, Wi-Fi internet, cable t.v., and breakfast. The suite accommodation comes equipped with a jacuzzi.
Beautiful ocean views from CasaGrande


Looking towards the pool at CasaGrande


One of the rooms at CasaGrande

One of the bathrooms at CasaGrande

CasaGrande can help you arrange your Bahia activities:
  • Tour to Isla Corazon (~$20/person)
  • Day viisit to Chirije Eco-Lodge and Archaeological Museum, including lunch (~$30/person)
  • Surf lessons with a bilingual instructor (~$20/person)
  • Hiking in the Cerro Seco dry forest
For more information and photos, visit CasaGrande online: http://www.casagrandebahia.com/
For reservations and questions, please contact Patricio: tamariz at gmail dot com

Be sure to tell Patricio that you heard about CasaGrande from Ecuador Beachfront Property to receive a 5% discount.