Indigenous participation in the 1996 electionsEcuador's 1996 national election brought a new develoment for the Indian movements in Ecuador. For the first time in history, Indigenous organizations took an organized role in the elections. This movement emerged first in August of 1995 in the Amazon region with the name Pachakútic.
Movimiento Unidad Plurinacional Pachakútic Nuevo PaísAn article in NACLA: Report on the Americas presents an introduction to Pachakútic's participation in the elections. These campaign notes provide more information on the elections. Luis Macas, president of CONAIE, won a seat in the National Assembly in these elections. A brief review of the results of the election notes that Freddy Ehlers, the presidential candidate, lost the election but eight Pachakutic candidates won seats in the National Assembly.
After the first round of elections, the "Indigenous Vote" was seen as such a critical swing vote that many people talked about the caza del voto indígena (hunt for the Indigenous vote). Also, see this rather optimistic article Indians of Ecuador Coalescing in Quest For Political Power from the Washington Post. Finally, here are some rough notes providing more information on the outcome of the elections.
Just before assuming their positions in government on August 10, 1996, the national Indian organization CONAIE organized an Encuentro de autoridades indígenas del continente (a meeting of Indigenous leaders of the continent).
A hotly debated issue among Indigenous organizations was the government's announced plans to form a Ministry of Indigenous affairs.