Political Representation, Policy & Inclusion NINA AGRAWAL, RICHARD ANDRÉ, RYAN BERGER, AND WILDA ESCARFULLER
ing to their needs and cultural background. These benefits include the
basic health care plan (Plan Oblig-atorio de Salud), a food subsidy for
pregnant women and children, and
emergency relief for victims of car
accidents, catastrophic events and
forced displacement by armed groups.
There were no Afro-Colombian representatives in this period because
the reserved seats were ruled unconstitutional in a decision by the
Constitutional Court, only to be reinstated in 2001.
National Congress, 2002–2006
All four Indigenous representatives
in this period were elected from minority political parties, while all of
the Afro-Colombian representatives
came through traditional parties. As
in the previous congressional session,
Indigenous-related initiatives generaly met with little success. From
2002 to 2006, Indigenous legislators
sponsored 41 bills— 17 coming from
Ecuador has had a unicameral egislature since1979. Under its 2008 constitution, the legislature is called the National Assembly
and has 124 members, with no reserved seats for Indigenous or Afro-descendants. During the 1996–1998
Congress and 1997–1998 Constituent
Assembly, the state was asked to recognize plurinationality, as well as Indigenous justice and collective rights
for the first time in Ecuador’s history.
The 2008 Constituent Assembly
marked the first time Afro-Ecuadorians were visibly present in the
political process. Seven elected representatives were in the Assembly,
supported by more than 500 observers who attended the plenary debates
100 Americas Quarterly SPRING 2012
the Senate and 24 from the Chamber.
Of the 41, 18 related directly to Indigenous issues, but none of them passed.
(Four bills not related to Indigenous
issues were enacted as laws.)
Ten of the 33 bills sponsored by
Afro-Colombian legislators were related to their community. None was
signed into law.
Seven Afro-Colombian and Indigenous representatives served in the
2006–2010 congressional session. Indigenous legislators occupied their
three reserved seats in both chambers,
with only Orsinia Polanco Jusayú coming from a non-Indigenous party (Polo
Democrático Alternativo). The three Indigenous representatives introduced a
total of 31 bills— 17 in the Senate and
14 in the Chamber. None of the 12 bills
relating to the Indigenous population
was signed into law.
Unlike the previous session, both
and votes. We also look at the current
legislative session, 2009–2013, as it is
under the 2008 Constitution.
ment has never been able to coalesce
around a single political party. Its
representatives in the 2008 Assembly and current legislative session
came from Alianza País, Partido So-ciedad Patriótica, Movimiento Popular Democrático, Partido Roldocista,
National Congress, 1996–1998
In the 1996–1998 legislative period,
only one bill relating to Indigenous
communities was introduced. But
the proposal—to create an Intercultural University of the Indigenous
Nationalities of Ecuador—failed to
pass after the first debate. No Afro-Ecuadorian legislators participated
in the 1997–1998 session of Congress.