Carlos Alvarado, of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), based his presidential campaign during Costa Rica’s second electoral round on a promise of national unity. Last night, less than two weeks from Inauguration Day, he announced a Cabinet filled with familiar faces from five parties.
The Cabinet also features, on the ministerial level, more women than men for the first time in Costa Rican history: 14 women and 11 men. The full Cabinet, which includes the presidents of government and semi-autonomous institutions, consists of 16 men and 15 women.
Leaders from Alvarado’s own party; from the two traditional parties that made up Costa Rica’s bipartisan system in the second half of the 1900s, National Liberation (PLN) and Social Christian Unity (PUSC); the left-wing Broad Front (Frente Amplio, or FA); and one local party, Curridabat Siglo XXI, make up the president-elect’s team.
Epsy Campbell, the First Vice President-elect, will serve as Minister of Foreign Relations. (Costa Rica has two Vice Presidents, and it is customary for each to also be assigned a Cabinet post or other substantial government role.)
Rodolfo Piza, the former PUSC candidate whose support for Alvarado across party lines was a major element of the second-round campaign, will be the Minister of the Presidency, the right-hand man of the president who will also be charged with tasks including coordination with the Legislative Assembly.
“We created a Cabinet with various sectors and political parties, with significant youth representation and the largest number of women in the history of the country,” Alvarado wrote on Twitter.
Alvarado, 38, who will be the youngest president in modern Costa Rican history, was elected April 1 in a surprising landslide.
Alvarado’s rival in the second round, conservative candidate Fabricio Alvarado (no relation) of the evangelical National Restoration Party, took to Twitter to express his criticisms of the leadership team.
“We cannot legitimize a corrupt, irresponsible government that tramples on religious liberties, promotes a lay State, promotes death and is destructive toward families,” the former candidate wrote on Twitter.
The Restoration Party, which has the second-largest number of legislators in the new Legislative Assembly (the largest group, 17, belongs to National Liberation) announced after the elections that it would not accept any Cabinet positions in Carlos Alvarado’s Cabinet.