Classifying Ecuador’s Regime under Correa: A Procedural Approach

Omar Sanchez-Sibony


This article presents the case for steering clear of electoral outcome-based regime classifications. It advocates focusing instead on the systemic character of the formal and informal institutions that govern access to power as a more appropriate way to draw electoral regime boundaries. The case study of Ecuador under the presidency of Rafael Correa is offered as an example of this approach. Both electoral outcomes under Correísmo (2006–2017) as well as the procedural context in which elections occurred are examined. But the regime is here analyzed and categorized on a procedural-centered basis. The analysis of the slope of the playing field in the electoral arena reveals that political competition was fundamentally unfair, placing the regime in the competitive authoritarian category. This conclusion is reached on grounds of the incumbent’s capture of the electoral management body, as well as highly discriminatory electoral laws drawn by the incumbent, among many other factors that rendered Ecuadorean electoral contests unfair.

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