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Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber to evaluate appointment of Lutheran bishop as presidency minister

May 13, 2014

Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, on Tuesday agreed to review the appointment of Melvin Jiménez Marín, a Lutheran bishop, as President Luis Guillermo Solís’ presidency minister.

The legal complaint was filed by a Costa Rican man with the last names Orozco Carballo, who said the Jiménez appointment violates Article 142 of Costa Rica’s Constitution. Paragraph 3 of that article states that all government ministers must be “members of the secular state” (“ser del estado seglar” in Spanish), which the complaint interprets to mean that government ministers cannot be active members of religious organizations.

In the complaint, Orozco demands that Jiménez’s appointment be annulled and his credentials as a public official withdrawn.

The appeal was filed on April 23, just days after Solís announced Jiménez as a member of his Cabinet. Jiménez was officially sworn in on May 8.

Jiménez is allowed to serve as minister until a final Sala IV ruling is issued.

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