Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Elections Tribunal Warns Arias to Stay Neutral

August 29, 2008

The Supreme Elections Tribunal has demanded that President Oscar Arias remain neutral as the 2010 presidential election approaches.

Arias appears to be backing Vice President and Justice Minister Laura Chinchilla. He has told the weekly El Financiero that a woman should succeed him.

The Electoral Code prohibits high-level public officials from using their influence to benefit a political party.

“They must show absolute impartiality,” reads a resolution by the tribunal’s three magistrates, Luis Antonio Sobrado, Eugenia Zamora and Max Esquivel. “They are allowed only to vote on Election Day.”

Rejecting a complaint by Citizen Action Party (PAC) lawmakers Rafael Madrigal and Elizabeth Fonseca, the magistrates said Arias had not violated the Electoral Code because “he doesn’t mention specific names or candidacies and he made (his comments) in the context of an interview, not a campaign activity.”

But the magistrates did ask Arias to be careful.

“This Tribunal … (makes a) respectful but vehement call to the attention to the president,” they wrote. “(We) demand that President Oscar Arias … promote, from the executive branch, … neutrality and impartiality.”

The magistrates used Arias’ own words to make their point. In 1988, during Arias’ first term as president, he said the Constitution should prohibit all ministers from running for public office in the next elections.

“I’m convinced that would be a healthy practice for our democracy,” he told the Legislative Assembly in his State of the Nation speech 20 years ago. “We must make sure that we aren’t in permanent electoral campaign during the relatively short presidential term.”

The Casa Presidencial issued a statement Tuesday saying it respected the tribunal’s ruling and would “always adhere to the principles of neutrality and impartiality that the law demands.”

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica proposes tax measures as part of IMF negotiations
Costa Rica
764 views
Costa Rica
764 views

Costa Rica proposes tax measures as part of IMF negotiations

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 18, 2020

The Costa Rican Presidency on Thursday announced the fiscal measures it will present to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as…

Costa Rica expands network of tsunami-alert sirens in ocean towns
Central America
1262 views
Central America
1262 views

Costa Rica expands network of tsunami-alert sirens in ocean towns

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 18, 2020

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) is installing tsunami-alert sirens in five Puntarenas towns, the institution announced this week. The communities…

Canada helps protect vulnerable sectors in Central America against pandemic
Canada
3102 views
Canada
3102 views

Canada helps protect vulnerable sectors in Central America against pandemic

AFP - September 18, 2020

Canada has allocated more than half a million dollars in aid to combat Covid-19 in vulnerable sectors of Nicaragua, Honduras…