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10 - Diminished by Design: Ecuador’s Alianza PAIS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 December 2021

Juan Pablo Luna
Affiliation:
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Rafael Piñeiro Rodríguez
Affiliation:
Universidad Católica del Uruguay
Fernando Rosenblatt
Affiliation:
Universidad Diego Portales, Chile
Gabriel Vommaro
Affiliation:
Universidad de San Martin/CONICET
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Summary

Launched as a leftist vehicle for the presidential candidacy of Rafael Correa, the Alianza País (AP) dominated Ecuador’s electoral politics for a decade. Electoral success, however, was never paired with a democratically minded project of party building. Wielding expansive executive powers as president from 2007 to 2017, Correa consolidated his personal control over the AP and set the country on a course of democratic backsliding. Horizontal coordination among elites and operatives inside the party was enforced through a top-down command structure. Decisions about messaging, candidates, and discipline were tightly controlled by Correa and his inner circle of hand-picked loyalists. Eschewing grassroots participation in favor of technocratic governance, Correa systematically undercut independent groups in civil society and used executive-branch resources to subsidize select groups and maintain electoral support. For the most part, the AP was consigned to the sidelines, purposefully diminished by its leader. While mobilizing effectively for elections, the AP failed to develop as a conduit for citizen participation and interest representation. Rather than acting as a democratizing agent of change, the AP evolved into a caudillista-style vehicle reminiscent of personalistic parties in the country’s past.

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Chapter
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Diminished Parties
Democratic Representation in Contemporary Latin America
, pp. 197 - 219
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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