San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Legislators Seek to Improve Assembly’s Tarnished Image

• Legislative Assembly President Gerardo González presented a motion as part of discussions of the 2006 budget to create an image office for the assembly. The office would require approximately $827,000 for communications equipment and television cameras, publicity and salaries, the daily Al Día reported. The idea is to create radio and television programs for the public demonstrating the work of legislators, who have been criticized by the press for their arguments, vacations and inability to pass bills.• According to Patriotic Union Party legislator Humberto Arce, the Legislative Assembly should not need an image office, as the current assembly is one of the best in a long time. He said the primary reason for this declaration, made before his fellow legislators, was that this assembly has ended the domination of the National Liberation and Social Christian Unity parties, resulting in less corruption. However, Arce did admit that “there is no reason to be fooled; clearly we have a deficit in the approval of laws.”• Soccer player Evaristo Coronado, famous as a member of the club team Saprissa in the ’80s and ’90s, was elected Sunday as the first-seat legislative candidate for the Patria First Party. He told Al Día he is ready to play “the most difficult game” of his life and that, while he does not feel capable of saying yes or no to the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), as an engineer he will apply a cost-benefit analysis. The Patria First Party also selected sports reporter Adrián Barboza, of Radio Monumental, for the third seat for San José and singer Gerardo Ramírez, of the group Los Hicsos, for the second seat for Cartago.• Union For Change (UPC) has taken a chance on political newcomers in the selection last weekend of its legislative candidates, none of whom have ever been legislators. The list includes an economist, a doctor, a lawyer and a civil engineer, who will accompany presidential candidate Antonio Álvarez Desanti.• The National Union Party (PUN) this weekend selected the remaining legislative candidates who will accompany presidential candidate José Manuel Echandi in the February 2006 elections. Some legislators were already selected earlier this month. The list does not include former would-be president Everardo Rodríguez, who was a presidential hopeful with the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), but stepped down and joined PUN with legislative aspirations. Rodríguez told La Nación Echandi had promised him the spot moments before the election. Instead, Echandi supported Manuel Rojas, president of the Palmares Civic Association.• Former Justice Minister José Miguel Villalobos was officially named the presidential candidate for the Democratic National Alliance (ADN). His vice-presidential candidates will be legislator Emilia María Rodríguez and lawyer Roberto Quirós.

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