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No clear path forward, opposition lawmakers lament after Solís’ 100-day report

September 2, 2014

Opposition lawmakers expressed a mix of outrage and approval Monday afternoon at the 100-day report presented by President Luis Guillermo Solís last week. Many lawmakers who opined about the president’s report agreed that any guilty parties should be punished, but they urged the president to provide more concrete proposals to address the problems he identified while speaking last Thursday at San José’s Teatro Melico Salazar.

The harshest criticism came from National Liberation Party lawmaker Juan Luis Jiménez, who lashed out at the president’s report as “irresponsible.”

“It’s time to put an end to the campaign that has gone on irresponsibly for these three months, principally by the governing party [Citizen Action Party], in both the executive and legislative branches,” Jiménez said on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.

Jiménez, speaking on behalf of the PLN, which controlled the presidency from 2006 until 2014, claimed the report was full of “irresponsible attacks” and generalizations that previous governments were incompetent, and that “practically every public official is corrupt.”

The PLN lawmaker acknowledged that it would be “irresponsible” to expect the government to have answers for every problem after only three months in office. But he didn’t hesitate to deride a perceived lack of leadership at the so-called rudderless administration.

PLN lawmaker Antonio Álvarez  Desanti said lawmakers were still working their way through bills proposed during President Laura Chinchilla’s presidency (2010-2014). Álvarez Desanti said the PLN was willing to work with the government, but he didn’t know how.

“How can we help the administration if they don’t mark the path to follow?” he asked.

“We have waited patiently these three months to hear the proposals of the administration, but it looks like we’ll have to wait more,” Jiménez said.

Libertarian Movement Party lawmaker Otto Guevara agreed.

“He didn’t tell us the how,” Guevara said, adding that he saw no clear proposals for how to grow the economy, improve the country’s productivity, or the country’s sky-high energy prices.

Guevara did, however, celebrate the president’s decision to call attention to public-sector corruption and encouraged the administration to present its finding to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Gerardo Vargas, lawmaker for the Broad Front Party, said Solís’ speech was a positive political innovation and cheered “clear signs” from the government to address inequality. Vargas urged the president to lift the veto on the controversial Labor Code that would allow workers in essential public services to strike.

In response to the opinions of lawmakers, President Solís published a statement on Casa Presidencial’s website Tuesday welcoming debate about the report. Solís opined that inefficiency and poor management in public services likely had an even greater negative impact on the daily lives of Costa Ricans than corruption.

“I fear that the havoc caused by state inefficiency, measured strictly in economic terms, could be more serious than that caused by of corruption that drains public finances,” Solís wrote.

Solís invited the leaders of the Assembly to come to Casa Presidencial this month to discuss the report’s findings and work toward a consensus on how to resolve the problems that both the executive and legislative branches acknowledge.

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