In his place, Congress named interim
President Fabian Alarcon, who had been President
of Congress and head of the small Radical Alfarista Front (FRA)
party. Alarcon's interim presidency was endorsed by a May
1997 popular referendum. During Alarcon's presidency, a
new constitution was drafted.
The 1979 constitution would be
replaced by this new constitution without coming into effect
on June 5, 1998.
Congressional and first-round presidential
elections were held on May 31, 1998. No presidential candidate
obtained a majority, so a run-off election between the top two
candidates--Quito Mayor Jamil Mahuad of the DP and Social
Christian Alvaro Noboa Ponton--was held on July 12, 1998.
Mahuad won by a narrow margin. He took office on August 10,
On the same day, Ecuador's new constitution came into
effect. Mahuad concluded a well-received peace with Peru on
October 26, 1998, but increasing economic, fiscal, and
financial difficulties drove his popularity steadily lower.