Constitution of Ecuador of 1998

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Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788499535449

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The Constitution of Ecuador of 1998 marked a significant turning point in the political and legal history of the Republic of Ecuador. Adopted during the interim government of Fabián Alarcón, following the coup d’état against Abdalá Bucaram, this was the nineteenth Magna Carta of the country. Approved and issued in Riobamba on June 5, 1998, it came into effect on August 10 of the same year.
The context in which this Constitution was drafted was tumultuous, marked by the political instability that led to the overthrow of Abdalá Bucaram. In this crisis scenario, the role of the National Constituent Assembly took on great importance. Originally convened as the National Assembly, it decided to self-designate as “Constituent,” following the logic of its fundamental mission: to draft a new Magna Carta that could provide a more stable legal and political framework.
Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea, president of the Assembly, emphasized in his speeches the importance of the “provisions” of this Constitution. Although the specificities of the content are not detailed here, the significance of this Constitution lies in its aim to address and resolve the fissures in governance and the legal order that had been evident in previous governments.
Constitution of Ecuador of 1998 remained in effect until it was replaced by the 2008 Constitution. During its period of validity, it left a mixed legacy. On the one hand, it represented a serious attempt to bring stability and clarity to Ecuador’s governance. On the other, like any legal document of this caliber, it was subject to various interpretations and controversies.
In summary, the Constitution of Ecuador of 1998 was a crucial document that sought to stabilize a nation amid a political crisis. Although it was eventually replaced, its adoption and the debates it generated reflect the complexities and challenges inherent in constructing a constitutional order in contexts of political instability.
“Its provisions”, according to the testimony of its president, Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea:

“generally approved by consensus and many unanimously, were the result of the dialogue that the Assembly maintained with all sectors of national life and the contributions of parties and groups of independents that integrated it, representing the broad ideological and political spectrum of the country.”

Constitution of Ecuador of 1998
Inspired by its millenary history, in the memory of its heroes and in the work of men and women who, with their sacrifice, forged the homeland; Faithful to the ideals of freedom, equality, justice, progress, solidarity, equity and peace that have guided its steps since the dawn of republican life, proclaims its will to consolidate the unity of the Ecuadorian nation in the recognition of the diversity of its regions, peoples, ethnic groups and cultures, invokes the protection of God, and in the exercise of its sovereignty, This Constitution establishes the fundamental norms that protect rights and freedoms, organize the State and democratic institutions and promote economic and social development.


Art. 1. Ecuador is a sovereign, unitary, independent, democratic, multicultural and multi-ethnic social State governed by the rule of law. Its government is republican, presidential, elective, representative, responsible, alternative, participatory and decentralized administration.
Sovereignty resides in the people, whose will is the basis of authority, which they exercise through the organs of public power and the democratic means provided for in this Constitution.
The State respects and encourages the development of all the languages of Ecuadorians. Spanish is the official language. Quichua, Shuar and other ancestral languages are in official use for indigenous peoples, under the terms established by law.
The flag, the shield and the anthem established by law, are the symbols of the homeland.

Art. 2. Ecuadorian territory is inalienable and irreducible. It includes that of the Royal Audience of Quito with the modifications introduced by the valid treaties, the adjacent islands, the Galapagos Archipelago, the territorial sea, the subsoil and the respective overlying space.
The capital is Quito.

Art. 3. The primary duties of the State are:

Strengthen national unity in diversity.
Ensure the observance of human rights, fundamental freedoms of women and men, and social security.
Defend the natural and cultural heritage of the country and protect the environment.
Preserve the sustainable growth of the economy, and balanced and equitable development for the collective benefit.
Eradicate poverty and promote the economic, social and cultural progress of its inhabitants.
Guarantee the validity of the democratic system and the public administration free of corruption.

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