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Ex-Presidents May be Charged for Abstention

March 3, 2006

Two former Presidents under investigation for corruption may be held responsible and forced pay for the 34.76% abstention rate Feb. 5 – the highest in more than four decades (TT, Feb 17).

In an unexpected move this week, the Government Attorney’s Office announced it may hold former Presidents Miguel Angel Rodríguez (1998-2002) and Rafael Angel Calderón, Jr. (1990-1994) financially responsible for keeping voters away from the polls, in the event they are brought to trial, the daily Al Día reported.

The former Presidents are being investigated for allegedly accepting large sums of money from companies awarded multimillion-dollar government contracts.

However, neither has been officially charged.

The Government Attorney’s Office is evaluating the economic and social impact of the corruption scandals, particularly on Costa Rican voters. In their calculations, officials are using a University of Costa Rica poll of people who did not vote on Feb. 5, which questioned their reasons.

Lawyers for both Calderón and Rodríguez told Al Día they were surprised by the position and called it unjustified.

 

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