The House Democracy Partnership (HDP) is a bipartisan commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that works directly with 21 partner parliaments around the world to support the development of effective, independent and responsive legislatures. HDP is proudly implemented by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute.
Though Ecuador is not a partner legislature of HDP, the country’s National Assembly participated in a regional exchange between the legislatures of Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and United States. In response to the challenges COVID-19 poses to democracy, IRI and HDP are facilitating discussions with lawmakers to support them in overcoming pandemic-related obstacles that might stymie their democratic progress. The Honorable Cristina Reyes Hidalgo participated in one of these virtual discussions and gained insight on a legislature’s role in the oversight of the Executive branch during times of crisis.
What parliament and chamber are you a member of?
I am a member of the National Assembly of Ecuador, the legislative body of the country. I also sit on the Legislative Administration Council, the Permanent Specialized Commission on Workers’ Rights and Social Security, and the Specialized Commission to monitor compliance with Ecuador’s obligations to the elderly.
What HDP program did you participate in?
I participated in a virtual exchange between legislators from Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and United States about oversight and maintaining legislative authority in times of crisis.
What is your favorite thing about your country?
My favorite aspect of Ecuador is the diversity of its people. Ecuadorians are warm and kind, as well as entrepreneurial since they want to succeed at any cost. I also enjoy the drastic differences of the climate between the regions. In Ecuador, it is possible to be in hot beach weather, around 36 degrees Celsius (97 Fahrenheit), or be in cold weather with hail.
Why did you decide to become a member of parliament?
I have always loved helping others and have participated in volunteer activities since high school, especially in issues regarding social problems in my hometown. It felt natural when I was approached to run for office.
Looking back on the HDP program, what was most impactful for you?
I think it is always good to have these kinds of exchanges with colleagues from the Latin American region. The massive challenges that COVID–19 has presented to the whole world must be confronted globally. These events allow us to learn from peers and their experiences with combatting the effects of the pandemic.
How are you applying your experience from the HDP mission to your role as a member of parliament?
The exchange of dialogue was helpful to compare Ecuador’s strategy of dealing with COVID-19 with other countries that face similar struggles.
What advice would you give to new members of parliament?
In Ecuador, we will be having elections in February, and by May, we will have a new parliament. I would like to tell these new members to advocate for fair causes that can enhance the living standards of people and help create a better country. Do not waste time, you only have four years to make a difference. Be just, be serious and be accountable with the issues you’re passionate about.
What accomplishments in parliament are you most proud of?
I am proud of many things that I have accomplished, but I’m particularly proud of working to incorporate a mandatory debate for presidential candidates. I advocate for issues that are important to women and the elderly, as well as rights that support workers. I have also developed a leadership program for women to help increase the participation of women in politics.Top