New Party Represents Disabled, Seniors

September 16, 2005

• A new party has been formed to represent the country’s disabled and senior citizens.Named the Accessibility Without Exclusion Party (PASE), the party has registered with the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) on a provincial level for the province of San José with the hope of getting legislative and municipal representation for the country’s 400,000 disabled Costa Ricans and 300,000 senior citizens. The party’s legislative candidates, who are either seniors or disabled, were announced Sunday.• National Union Party (PUN) presidential candidate José Manuel Echandi has filed a request for an injunction before the TSE demanding that Costa Ricans living outside of the country be allowed to vote in the February elections. No system of absentee voting exists here for the approximately 100,000 potential voters who live abroad.• Former Legislator Alvaro Montero Mejía has announced he will be the candidate for the National Recovery Party (PRN). Montero, 64, directs a political analysis program on public TV station Channel 13. Among the party’s supporters are poet Julieta Dobles, scientist Leonardo Mata and union leader Joaquín Meléndez, according to the daily La Nación.• Presidential candidates will hold their first debate today, 7-9 a.m. at the Children’s Museum auditorium. Radio Monumental will transmit the debate between Oscar Arias of the National Liberation Party, Ricardo Toledo of the Social Christian Unity Party, Ottón Solís of the Citizen Action Party, Otto Guevara of the Libertarian Movement, and possibly other candidates.• The Public Health Ministry has ordered the December eviction of most Legislative Assembly buildings because of their deteriorating and dangerous state, the daily La Nación reported. The assembly’s executive director, Antonio Ayales, told the daily the process of renting buildings for 600 to 700 workers has begun.The Legislative Assembly has asked the Executive Branch to approve a $30 million loan for a new building, a request Finance Minister Federico Carrillo has rejected (TT, Aug. 26).• Several legislators have suggested penalizing legislative employees who attacked Carrillo earlier this month because of his rejection of the loan for a new building (TT, Sept. 2). Legislative employees verbally assaulted and shoved Carrillo Sept. 1 when he submitted the national budget for legislative approval. An association of legislative employees denied any assault and said employees respect the minister.

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