Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 352
Ecuadorian Conservative Party, 352
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)
Party name and code number
Ecuadorian Conservative Party, 352
Partido Conservador, PC

Institutionalization Variables
, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1875, AC6
0, AC9
The Conservative Party was the oldest political party in Ecuador. Although the beginnings of the Conservative Party were evident throughout the nineteenth century, it did not actually form its own political program until the death of its leading exponent, Garcia Moreno, in 1875. From its inception in the nineteenth century until the end of our time period, the Conservative Party of Ecuador retained its same name.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
12, AC6
Although generally stable throughout its long history, the Conservative Party seems to have suffered two splits during our time period. Following the 1952 elections, there appears to have been a minor split. With the regular party confronted by a 'classic' Conservative Party faction. Before the 1960 elections, a more important split occurred, when the Social Christian group within the party organized more clearly as an entity on its own.
1.04 leadership competition
16. AC9
Leadership within the Conservative Party might be likened to that within American parties. At least seven people were named as director general, president, supreme director, or national chairman during our period. Manuel Flores Dijon even held the position for four years in a row. But like the position of national chairman within American parties, this post appears to be essentially administrative within the Conservative Party of Ecuador. And what comes closest to effective leadership is likely to issue from the party's presidential candidate at election time. According to this viewpoint, the party leadership shifted from Ruperto Alarcon Falconi, the Conservative candidate in the 1952 election, to Canto Ponce Enriquez--who was the winning candidate in the 1956 election--to Gonzalo Cordero Crespo, who lost in 1960. But note that Ponce was considered as a Social Christian before the Conservatives adopted him as their candidate. However, this is not unlike the Republicans adopting as their candidate in 1952, Dwight Eisenhower, who was considered a possible candidate of the Democrats before he declared his party preference.
1.05 legislative instability
Instability is .26, AC7
Strength is .26 for 1950-56, AC7, and .33 for 1957-62, AC8
The Conservative legislative delegation reached a low of 17 percent of the seats following the 1954 election and a high of 49 percent following the 1958 election.
1.06 electoral instability
Instability is .12, AC8
Strength is .29 for 1950-56, AC9, and .22 for 1957-62, AC7
Because election returns for the congressional elections were difficult to obtain, the electoral strength and instability of the Conservative Party are based on its showing in the three presidential elections during our time period. The Conservative candidate in 1952, Alarcon Falconi, received 31 percent of the vote, which was the best showing in the three elections. But Ponce Enriquez, with only 28 percent of the vote, won in a close race in 1956. In 1960, Cordero Crespo slipped even further to about 22 percent.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
0, AC7
There is no extensive discussion of governmental policies toward the Conservative Party in our information file. Acts of discrimination. If they occurred either in favor or in opposition to the party, were probably consistent in either direction nor severe in application, for the party was both in and out of governmental power during our time period. Hence, the net effect is judged to be essentially nil.
2.02 governmental leadership
1 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
3 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
Camilo Ponce Enriquez was elected president of Ecuador in 1956 as a candidate of the Conservative Party and the popular alliance coalition, and he served until the end of his term in 1960.
2.03 cabinet participation
1 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC5
4 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC8
Under the presidency of Ponce Enriquez, the Conservatives were well represented in the cabinet. Although Ponce Enriquez himself held the interior ministry in Velasco's government, it appears that he was not a representative of the Conservative Party at the time, so the party's score for the first part of our time period cannot be higher. Its score in the second part is composed of three years under Ponce and one year of cabinet participation under Arosemena, who assumed the presidency following Velascoís exile in 1961 with a coalition cabinet that included the Conservatives .
2.05 legislative strength
Instability is .26, AC7
Strength is .26 for 1950-56, AC7, and .33 for 1957-62, AC8
The Conservative legislative delegation reached a low of 17 percent of the seats following the 1954 election and a high of 49 percent following the 1958 election.
2.06 electoral strength
Instability is .12, AC8
Strength is .29 for 1950-56, AC9, and .22 for 1957-62, AC7
Because election returns for the congressional elections were difficult to obtain, the electoral strength and instability of the Conservative Party are based on its showing in the three presidential elections during our time period. The Conservative candidate in 1952, Alarcon Falconi, received 31 percent of the vote, which was the best showing in the three elections. But Ponce Enriquez, with only 28 percent of the vote, won in a close race in 1956. In 1960, Cordero Crespo slipped even further to about 22 percent.
2.06 national participation
4, AC9
The Conservatives run much stronger in the sierra or highland region than along the coastal areas, receiving 86 percent of their vote from the sierra in 1952, 85 percent in 1956, and 79 percent in 1960. The average deviation of percent voting support for the Conservatives from the sierra, coastal, and sparsely populated eastern region in comparison to the voting electorate for each region was 16, 21, and 22 percentage points respectively for each of the three elections.
2.07 outside origin
4, AC7
While the roots of the Conservative Party go back to the dictatorship of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, a written constitution, party documents, and participation in elections did not take place until after Garcia's assassination in 1875. Governmental officials and followers of Garcia subsequently organized the party.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
5, AC6
In 1957, the Conservative government sought to dismantle government monopolies in state owned railroads, match, alcohol, salt, and cigarette monopolies. As the Conservative's leader, Camilo Ponce Enriquez handed these monopolies over to private ownership. He was an outspoken exponent of free enterprise in Ecuador.
5.02 government role in economic planning -
1, AC4
The literature is scanty concerning the economic policies of the liberals. There is no suggestion of favor for government planning and some indication of opposition. When Ponce became president. For example, the government response to the economic conditions was attraction of private capital from foreign investors while reducing government programs and expenditures.
5.03 redistribution of wealth -
3, AC8
The Conservatives felt that there existed an innate right to private property. The party favored the traditionally conservative landowners located in the sierra region of Ecuador.
5.04 social welfare
3, AC4
The Conservatives have never been noted for social welfare programs. Although Ponce announced at the beginning of his term that he would bring social reforms and seek to raise the standard of living of the Indian population, this concern appears to have been idiosyncratic, and little progress along these lines was made during the time his Conservative Party was in power.
5.05 secularization of society -
5, AC9
Since its conception, the Conservative Party had close ties with the Roman Catholic church in Ecuador. The two were often thought of as one and the same, and in all elections, the Conservatives were strongly backed by the church. The clergy consistently increased its participation in political affairs, advocating union of church and state in political life.
5.06 support of the military -
3, AC9
While the Conservatives advocated keeping a minimum of armed forces to guarantee the structure of the state, the two did not always see eye to eye. Since the Conservatives actively supported taking away the vote from the military in the constitution of 1946, the armed forces were consistently against rule by the Conservatives in Ecuador.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs -
5, AC8
Because of the anticlericalism inherent in the communist party, the Conservatives were strongly anti-communist.
5.08 anti-colonialism -
3, AC8
As leader of the Conservative Party, Ponce Enriquez welcomed foreign investors into Ecuador in order to develop the natural resources in his country.
5.09 supranational integration
3, AC9
The Conservatives encouraged economic federation with other countries, welcoming foreign investors to develop natural resources, agriculture and industry. It established political ties with countries near its border in a scheme to form again what used to be known as Gran Colombia. While this federation was never established, it was an issue in many political campaigns.
5.10 national integration
3, AC6
The Conservative Party exhibited nationalizing tendencies when it sought to incorporate the Indians of Ecuador into the national economy.
5.11 electoral participation
1, AC9
The party doctrine of the Conservative Party advocated universal suffrage, with sex and citizenship not being discriminated against. Yet, the Conservatives supported withholding the vote from the military, who were traditionally liberal voters.
5.12 protection of civil rights
No information.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
3, AC7
Camilo Ponce Enriquez, leader of the Conservative government, was often criticized for cracking down too hard on the press, closing newspapers, and jailing editors. Under President Velasco Ibarra, as minister of the interior, Ponce clamped down hard on the press and used police powers with a strong hand. But, when he ran for president in 1956, he promised a free press and insisted that it was Velasco's orders which had caused his past repressive actions.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet experts left-right ratings
Us says 1, Conservative
Soviets say 1, reflects the interests of the Latifundists, the clergy, and the bourgeoisie. Closely tied to American monopolies.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
3.5, AC7
While the Conservative Party was generally oriented toward open competition, at times it functioned in a disruptive manner. In 1952, the Conservatives would not agree to forming a coalition cabinet under Galo Plaza Lasso, greatly weakening Plaza's position and that of the government. In 1960, it was accused of attempting to overthrow the Velasco government.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC8
Although the literature did not state that the Conservative Party never engaged in restricting opposition parties, it can be assumed from other information that it did not. Rather, it relied mostly on open competition.
6.20 subverting the political system
.5, AC3
At times the Conservative Party engaged in opposition activities against the government in power. It would not aid Galo Plaza Lasso in 1952 by joining a coalition cabinet, thus stabilizing the government. There were also accusations against the party in 1960 of an attempt to overthrow the government.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31--0, AC3.
While it was slated in the literature that conservative oriented newspapers were published, it was not said whether or not they were run by the Conservative Party.
6.32--0, AC3.
It was not mentioned whether or not the Conservative Party ran any party schools. It is assumed that they did not.
6.33--2, AC3.
The Conservative Party was known to publish various resolutions and platforms which were generally restatements of practices dictated by generations of usage.
6.34--1, AC3.
In 1962, the Conservative Party issued a statement of support for the military junta which overthrew the government.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
No information

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
No information
7.02 source of members
5 (sector 06), AC6
The Conservative Party is the strongly pro-Catholic party in Ecuador. Favoring unity of church and) state. It appears that during our time period, the Catholic hierarchy and clergy were active supporters of this party. They gave individual support, as well as recruited other members through church organizations. This church-influenced membership is probably a significant minority in the Conservative Party. Other members appear to be affiliated with the party on the basis of family tradition and/or region.
7.03 sources of leaders
1 (sector 05), AC6
Traditionally the Conservative Party leaders hive been landowners, members of the established upper class. Throughout our time period, high social status continued to be a recognized characteristic of leadership (the old guard) in the party. The one example of an attempted change in this tradition by the 1952 nomination of an 'upstart' presidential candidate resulted in a split.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
5, AC7
The Conservative Party participated in many alliances with the Social Christians, Arne, and the Velasquistas during our time period. These alliances are not well documented in our data, but appear to have been based on agreements of the groups involved as a front against communism. The government coalitions of the Ponce regime are used as a means of balancing and maintaining the party's power, following the general trend of cabinet coalitions in Ecuador. Ponce had been a Social Christian leader before he was elected on the Conservative ballot. And his status in the Social Christian party afterwards is unclear. We have not counted his term as president as involving a governmental alliance between the Conservative and Christian Democratic party, but this judgment is not firm.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
5, AC3
There is no evidence of any relations that the Conservative Party had with any supernational organizations. But it is important to once again note that the Conservative Party does have relations with the church that are not considered to be ordinary by some authors. Linke sees this relationship as one of dependence to the church and the pope's word. There is no evidence of this fact besides the similarity in philosophy. The party apparently did not belong to the Christian Democratic Organization of America during our time period.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
7, AC6
The two national organs of the Conservative Party are the General Assembly and the General Directorate. The General Assembly is composed of 72 members (4 representatives from the party's organs in each of the 17 provinces and 1 delegate from each university). Its job is to nominate Conservative candidates for president and vice-president, determine the general policy and strategy of the party with reference to national issues and to elect the members of the General Directorate. The General Directorate is composed of 7 members and presided over by the Director General. Their duties include instruction of lesser organs and affiliates of the Conservative Party in their duties and tactics. Calling emergency sessions of the General Assembly and serving as the liason between the party and its affiliates in the government.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
4, AC5
The parish junta is the most intensive level of organization of the Conservative Party. There is no reference to the number of persons in the parish, or any explanation as to the actual area of the parish--but it appears that the parish defines a unit smaller than a municipal area, probably that of the ward type in our categories.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
5, AC6
There are parish juntas throughout the country, although they are often weak in traditionally liberal strongholds such as the coastal region. The Conservative Party strength is in the sierra region, and I would imagine that this area would have more and stronger local groups. The Conservatives made a concerted effort in the late 1940's and early 1950's to strengthen their organization throughout Ecuador.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
3, AC6
The parish juntas meet at least once a year. There is no further information about emergency meetings or about the frequency of meeting more than once a year.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
Our data does not nave any information about the number of meetings that the directorate of the Conservative Party holds each year.
8.06 maintaining records
0, AC3
It does not appear that the Conservative Party has any organized means of maintaining records. It is stated by N. Written in "Class, Kinship, and Power in an Ecuadorian Town" that there are no membership lists maintained. The information about the other parts of this variable is more sketchy. The right-wing newspaper does not appear to be a vehicle for Conservative propaganda, although its views may be sympathetic to those of the Conservative Party. There is no information given about the maintenance of a party archive, but I have chosen to interpret this lack as reflecting a lack of archives.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
10, AC7
The ancillary organizations having relations with the Conservative Party are church dominated socioeconomic groups (artisans, worker associations) or the religious actors themselves. This is a by-product of the church support of the Conservative Party. These church institutions were not organized by the party to further its power, nor were they controlled by the party, but the party organization is aided by the relationship.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
5, AC5
The General Directorate 'instructs lesser organs and affiliates of party duties' (Blanksten). There is a discernible hierarchy in the party from national to provincial to cantonal to parish level. Each level coordinates the next lesser level's activities. Or at least reports its activities to the higher level (i.e. the provincial directorate coordinates the cantonal activities and reports to the General Directorate.)
9.02 selecting the national leader
3, AC6
The information in our data collection refers only to the selection of the Conservative presidential candidate, not to other party leaders. The presidential and vice-presidential candidates are nominated by the General Assembly.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
2, AC6
The provincial assembly nominates the party's candidates for the National Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
9.04 allocating funds
There is no information about the allocation of funds in the Conservative Party.
9.05 formulating policy
5, AC6
The Conservative General Assembly determines the party's general policy and strategy in national issues.
9.06 controlling communications
0, AC3
There is no information about control of communication systems by the Conservative Party, besides reference to right-wing newspapers or periodicals in which they may advertise or share similar opinions.
9.07 administering discipline
There is no information about the administration of discipline in the Conservative Party.
9.06 leadership concentration
3, AC5
The `old guard' of the Conservative Party generally forms the core for the leadership of the party. Its members dominate the General Directorate in membership and in philosophy.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 legislative cohesion
There is obvious dissension within the ranks of the Conservative Party, but there is no information about the effect that it has on the activities of members in the legislature.
10.02 ideological factionalism
4, AC5
Arne and Social Christians are not defined as factions of the Conservative Party or as separate parties during our time period. If we view them as factions or splits, which is especially possible with the Social Christian party, we are still faced with the problem of determining their size. I tend to view these parties/factions as a small proportion of the party, representing the extreme philosophies of fascism and liberal Social Christianity in the Conservative Party. I draw this conclusion from my impressions of a considerably large membership in the Conservative Party due to its traditional status in Ecuador, with the factions/splits being basically small numbers of the politically active and aware members organizing into a group.
10.03 issue factionalism
1, AC5
Again, we must make the assumption that the Social Christians and Arne and the Conservatives are linked. As this appears to be probable, it is important to note that the national issues are debated with some sort of consensus, compromise, or exchange of favors as the outcome of debate which is supported by these parties/factions in a combined effort.
10.04 leadership factionalism
1, AC5
There do not seem to be any factional divisions developing from leadership competition, although opposition among leaders is documented. The one group (Movimento Patriotico Popular) that is mentioned in terms of leadership factionalism during the Ponce campaign by one source is later referred to as a supporter of Ponce by another source. Since I cannot solve this discrepancy, I cannot code this information in this variable.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, AC3
There is no evidence of strategic factionalism or discussion in the Conservative Party.
10.06 party purges
0, AC9
There were no purges within the Conservative Party from 1950-1962.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
There is no information about Conservative Party membership requirements.
11.02 membership participation
There were no descriptions relating to the levels of activity of Conservative membership during our time period.
11.03 material incentives
2, AC3
There is no information about material incentives within the Conservative Party, but the party did enjoy governmental participation and some presence of materialism is assumed.
11.04 purposive incentives
There is no information defining Conservative militants as regarding the party as a means to reach future goals defined by the party.
11.05 doctrinism
1, AC3
The available information implies that a certain body of Conservative Party literature qualifies as a type of doctrine. This literature combines two trends in conservative philosophy, Catholicism and the idealization of Garcia Moreno. The literature, basically the writings of Garcia Moreno, is referred to on occasion.
11.06 personalism
0, AC3
There is no reference to personalism in the modern Conservative Party in our data collection. The present-day party developed from a group first united under Garcia Moreno, but there appears to be no widespread reliance on personalism as a motivating force for militants in the Conservative Party.