Unity Dropouts Give New Party a Boost

September 9, 2005

• The National Union Party (PUN) and its presidential candidate, former Ombudsman José Manuel Echandi, are gaining momentum, thanks to former members of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). Party President Arturo Acosta told the daily La Nación the party is made up of nearly 80% former Unity members.• In response to an appeal from the New Feminist League Party, the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) has reversed a previous decision prohibiting the party from participating in the 2006 elections. The party will be able to participate in the elections for the province of San José, meaning a Feminist League legislator could be elected. The TSE originally rejected the party’s registration citing a law that requires at least 40% participation by women in political parties, and saying a party of women should be required to have 40% men (TT, Aug. 11).• Of the young people who will be able to vote in the elections, 44,000 have yet to request the official identification cards that allow them to do so, according to the TSE. Anyone who turns 18 before Feb. 5, 2006 has until Oct. 5 to request their cédula in any TSE office, which registers them to vote. According to birth records, 333,000 Costa Ricans will be able to vote for the first time in 2006. Candidates, particularly Unity’s Ricardo Toledo and the National Liberation Party’s Oscar Arias, have vigorously campaigned for the youth vote.

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