Arias Administration Calls For Constitutional Reform

December 12, 2008

The Arias administration will push for a Constituent Assembly to change Costa Rica’s nearly 60-year-old Constitution and alter the interplay between the branches of government.

Calling the country “ungovernable,” Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias said that local government should wield more authority and the Executive Branch should have more power vis-a-vis the Legislative Assembly.

“We have been mulling over this idea for some time,” President Oscar Arias said in a statement released Tuesday. “People have thousands of rights but no responsibilities, and that makes the country unable to function. …The country cannot progress at the speed demanded by modern times.”

The Legislative Assembly can make minor changes to the 1949 Constitution with support of a two-thirds majority. But substantial reforms can be made only by a Constituent Assembly, which would consist of elected officials nationwide and can be convened either by the Legislative Assembly or through a national referendum.

Marvin Carvajal, a law professor at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), said a constitution overhaul could erode social guarantees that have helped Costa Rica achieve greater social progress than its neighbors. He also said the Constituent Assembly members might weaken provisions that have kept abuses by the executive in check.

“Furthermore, if politicians haven’t been able to agree in the Legislative Assembly and other forums, what makes you think they can reach accords in a Constituent Assembly?”

Still, Legislative Assembly president Francisco Antonio Pacheco warned that without substantial reform, the political system could fail.

“It’s preferable to reform the Constitution in a calm, peaceful manner than to wait until a conflict breaks out – a very big conflict,” he said, hinting at the possibility of another civil war, such as the one in 1948 that ended in the drafting in 1949 of the current Constitution.

–Gillian Gillers

 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Pic of the Day: Costa Rica’s Isla Nublar (aka Cocos Island)
Pic of the Day
6 views
Pic of the Day
6 views

Pic of the Day: Costa Rica’s Isla Nublar (aka Cocos Island)

Alejandro Zúñiga - April 18, 2019

Isla Nublar, the setting for much of the "Jurassic Park" series, is unfortunately not a real Costa Rican island. Cocos…

Costa Rica holds Maduro regime responsible for diplomat’s safety
Costa Rica
5 views
Costa Rica
5 views

Costa Rica holds Maduro regime responsible for diplomat’s safety

AFP and The Tico Times - April 18, 2019

The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it places responsibility with the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro for…

Venezuela withdraws diplomatic credential from Costa Rican diplomat
Latin America
20 views
Latin America
20 views

Venezuela withdraws diplomatic credential from Costa Rican diplomat

AFP and The Tico Times - April 17, 2019

Venezuela withdrew the diplomatic credential from the Costa Rican chargé d'affaires on Tuesday in retaliation for the country’s acceptance of…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!