A former Ecuadorian presidential candidate who was previously fined for making homophobic comments has been banned from political activity for a year.

Nelson Zavala had been fined £2,014, for making the comments that gay people could be “cured”, were “immoral”, and suffering from “severe deviation of conduct”.

Nelson Zavala polled just 1.23% of the vote in February’s elections in the country. He has been banned for political activity for a year.

He is unable to stand as a candidate or be involved with a political party or movement.

In February, Zavala came last out of eight candidates and President Rafael Correa was re-elected for a third term with nearly 60% of the vote.

A court heard Mr Zavala, an evangelical preacher, made a series of public anti-gay statements which breached Ecuador’s electoral code.

Judge Patricia Baca Mancheno found Mr Zavala violated the electoral code, which “forbids candidates of publicly expressing any thoughts that discriminate or affect other people’s dignity or utilise symbols, expressions or allusions of a religious nature.”

At the hearing, the preacher said his opinions were aimed at the country’s constitution, which “destroys the true Ecuadorian family” by allowing same-sex marriage.

Article 67 of the Ecuadorian Constitution limits marriage to the union of a man and a woman.

However, according to an unofficial English language translation of Article 68, adopted in 2009, the article provides that same-sex couples in stable and monogamous unions enjoy the same rights and obligations of married couples.