San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Feminist Party Tanks; Ombudswoman Named

• The New Feminist League Party has been eliminated before it could get into the ring for the February 2006 elections because it does not comply with male quotas, the Supreme Election Tribunal (TSE) ruled last week. The TSE determined that if other parties are required to have 40% female representation, it should work the same way for males in the feminist party, launched in March (TT, March 11). The party could not boast 40% male representation, and its registration was rejected.• Dr. Lisbeth Quesada, the new Ombudswoman, began her new job Wednesday as a liaison between the public and the government. Quesada was elected to the post last week by the Legislative Assembly. The position has not been permanently filled since former Ombudsman José Manuel Echandi left in June after not being reelected. Quesada, 53, founded Latin America’s first palliative care center, where terminally ill patients receive pain relief and support, in El Salvador.• Astronaut Franklin Chang said last week that he thinks the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) could help Costa Rica “fix our boat, which has suffered damage over time,” according to the daily La Nación. Chang, who is part of the “Council of Notables” to help President Abel Pacheco determine the merits and faults of CAFTA, also said that with or without the agreement, the country needs serious change.• A bill to make campaign finance laws stricter has the support of the majority of legislative parties, meaning that it could be applied to the campaign leading up to the February elections, La Nación reported. The bill would punish those who receive illegal donations for up to six years in prison. National companies would be prohibited from donating, as foreigners are now. The bill would also prohibit the use of parallel structures for receiving donations, which has been widely practiced in recent elections.

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