Politics and Digital Media: An Exploratory Study of the 2014 Subnational Elections in Ecuador

  • Yanina WelpEmail author
  • Pedro Capra
  • Flavia Freidenberg
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 29)


The transformations of political party systems challenge democratic representation given that parties maintain a predominant role connecting citizen’s preferences to policy making through the election of authorities. Representation is also challenged by the spread of digital social networks, which modify the way in which both political actors and the public communicate about politics. However, it is unclear in how far platforms like Twitter overcome traditional ways of political communication. The aim of this chapter is to analyze the political uses of digital media in a multilevel party system during an electoral period. The main question it deals with refers to the extent politician’s tweets do connect territorial agendas. The study focuses on the 2014 subnational elections in Ecuador, an incongruent multilevel party system dominated by non-traditional parties, despite traditional parties still play a relevant role. With an exploratory aim the study focuses on a selection of politicians from the provinces of Guayas and Pichincha and the municipalities of Guayaquil and Quito.


  1. Amorim Neto, O., & Cox, G. (1997). Electoral institutions, cleavage structures, and the number of parties. American Journal of Political Science, 41, 149–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anduiza, E., Jensen, M., & Jorba, L. (2012). Digital media and political engagement worldwide. A comparative study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Balmas, M., Rahat, G., Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, S. R. (2014). Two routes to personalized politics: Centralized and decentralized personalization. Party Politics, 20(1), 37–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Batlle, M. (2012). Diseño institucional y sistemas de partidos subnacionales en América Latina. Disseration, University of Salamanca.Google Scholar
  5. Best, M. L., & Wade, K. W. (2009). The internet and democracy: Global catalyst or democratic dud? Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 9, 255–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bimber, B. (2014). Digital media in the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012: Adaptation to the personalized political communication environment. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 11(2), 130–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Braga, S. (2016). Rumo a um modelo mais participativo de comunicação partidária? Um estudo comparado das estratégias de comunicação digital pelos partidos brasileiros e espanhóis, Paper prepared for LASA, May 27–31, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Breuer, A., & Welp, Y. (Eds.). (2014). Digital Technologies for Democratic Governance in Latin America: Opportunities and risks. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Broersma, M., & Graham, T. (2012). Social media as beat: Tweets as a news source during the 2010 British and Dutch elections. Journalism Practice, 6(3), 403–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De La Torre, C. (2012). Rafael Correa: un populista del siglo XXI. documento de Trabajo, Retrieved from
  11. Freidenberg, F. (2014). Un país con mil reinos: Predominio de nuevos actores, estrategias políticas e incongruencia multinivel en Ecuador (1978-2014). In F. Freidenberg & J. Suarez-Cao (Eds.), Territorio y Poder: Nuevos actores y competencia política en los sistemas de partidos multinivel en América Latina (pp. 181–221). Salamanca: University of Salamanca.Google Scholar
  12. Freidenberg, F., & Suárez-Cao, J. (Eds.). (2014). Territorio y Poder: Nuevos actores y competencia política en los sistemas de partidos multinivel en América Latina. Salamanca: University of Salamanca.Google Scholar
  13. Gibson, E. L., & Suarez-Cao, J. (2010). Federalized party systems and subnational party competition: Theory and an empirical application to Argentina. Comparative Politics, 43(1), 21–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grant, W. J., Moon, B., & Grant, J. B. (2010). Digital dialogue? Australian politicians use of the social network toll twitter. Australian Journal of Political Science, 45(4), 579–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Groshek, J. (2009). The democratic effects of the internet, 1994–2003: A cross-national inquiry of 152 countries. International Communications Gazette, 71, 115–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leston-Bandeira, C. (2009). Parliamentary functions portrayed on European parliaments’ websites. Revista de Sociologia e Política, 17(34).
  17. Ortiz Crespo, S. (2014). Elecciones 2014: Proyecto nacional vs. poderes locales. Rebelión, 4 de marzo. Retrived from
  18. Pachano, S. (2008). Sistemas subnacionales de partidos en el Ecuador. In F. Carrión & V. Brigitta (Eds.), Descentralizar: un derrotero a seguir (pp. 145–162). Quito: FLACSO.Google Scholar
  19. Papaloi, A., Staiou, E. R., & Gouscos, D. (2012). Blending social media with parliamentary websites: Just a trend, or a promising approach to e-participation? Public Administration and Information Technology, 1, 259–275.Google Scholar
  20. Polga-Hecimovich, J. (2014). “Hacia la superación del cleavage regional? La evolución de la nacionalización de los partidos políticos ecuatorianos desde el retorno a la democracia”. América Latina Hoy, 67. doi:
  21. Schakel, A. H. (2013). Congruence between regional and national elections. Comparative Political Studies, 46(5), 631–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Spoon, J., & West, K. J. (2015). Bottoms up: How subnational elections predict parties’ decisions to run in presidential elections in Europe and Latin America. Research & Politics, 2(3).
  23. Welp, Y. (2011). Bridging the political gap? The adoption of ICTs for the improvement of Latin American parliamentary democracy. In Z. Sobaci (Ed.), E-Parliament and ICT-based legislation: Concept, experience and lessons (pp. 217–236). Hershey: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  24. Welp, Y., & Marzuca, A. (2016). La política en la era de la información. Estudio de la presencia en internet de partidos políticos y representantes de Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay. Perfiles Latinoamericanos, 4, 199–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Welp, Y., & Ruth, S. (2017). Presidentas Twitteras: The social media use of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff. In T. Došek, F. Freidenberg, M. Caminotti, & B. Muñoz-Pogossian (Eds.), Women, politics, and democracy in Latin America (pp. 131–149). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Democracy StudiesUniversity of ZurichAarauSwitzerland
  2. 2.The University of CampinasRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.National Autonomous University of MexicoMéxico DFMexico

Personalised recommendations