On January 21, 2000, during demonstrations in Quito by indigenous groups, the military and police refused to enforce public order, beginning what became known as the 2000 Ecuadorean coup d'état. Demonstrators entered the National Assembly building and declared, in a move that resembled the coups d'état endemic to Ecuadorean history, a three-person junta in charge of the country. Field-grade military officers declared their support for the concept. During a night of confusion and failed negotiations President Mahuad was forced to flee the presidential palace for his own safety. Vice President Gustavo Noboa took charge by vice-presidential decree; Mahuad went on national television in the morning to endorse Noboa as his successor. The military triumvirate that was effectively running the country also endorsed Noboa. The Ecuadorean Congress then met in an emergency session in Guayaquil on the same day, January 22, and ratified Noboa as President of the Republic in constitutional succession to Mahuad.
Although Ecuador began to improve economically in the following months, the government of Noboa came under heavy fire for the continuation of the dollarization policy, its disregard for social problems and other important issues in Ecuadorean politics.
Retired Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez, a member of the military junta that overthrew Mahuad, was elected president in 2002 and assumed the presidency on January 15, 2003. Gutierrez's Patriotic Society Party had a small fraction of the seats in Congress and therefore depended on the support of other parties in Congress to pass legislation.
In December 2004, Gutiérrez unconstitutionally dissolved and appointed new judges to the Supreme Court. This move was generally seen as a kickback to deposed ex-President Abdalá Bucaram, whose political party had sided with Gutiérrez and helped derail attempts to impeach him in late 2004. The new Supreme Court dropped charges of corruption pending against the exiled Bucaram, who soon returned to the politically unstable country. The corruption evident in these maneuvers finally led Quito's middle classes to seek the ousting of Gutiérrez in early 2005. In April 2005, the Ecuadorian Armed Forces declared that it "withdrew its support" for the President. After weeks of public protests, Gutiérrez was overthrown in April. Vice President Alfredo Palacio assumed the Presidency and vowed to complete the term of office and hold elections in 2006.
In 15 January 2007, the social-democrat Rafael Correa succeeded Palacio as President of Ecuador, with the promise of summoning a Constituent Assembly, and bringing focus on poverty. The 2007-8 Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly drafted the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador, approved via the Ecuadorian constitutional referendum, 2008.
In November 2009, Ecuador faced an energy crisis that led to power rationing across the country.
On September 30, 2010, Ecuador faced an attempt at a coup d'état.