San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Pacheco, Cabinet Members Keep Sinking in Polls

• President Abel Pacheco’s approval rating continues to fall. According to the latest Unimer poll published in the daily La Nación, only 21 out of every 100 Costa Ricans think the President is doing a good job, while 53 out every 100 say he is doing badly, up from 41 in September. Pacheco’s rating is worse than any of the past three presidents during the final six months of their administrations. However, Pacheco hasn’t reached as low as you can go – approval for his Cabinet is even lower, with 64% of Costa Ricans having a negative opinion of the country’s ministers, the poll revealed.


• The presidential candidates fared a little better than Pacheco in the poll – National Liberation Party candidate and former President Oscar Arias received a 59% approval rating, while Citizen Action Party (PAC) candidate Ottón Solís received a 55%.


• The latest Demoscopía poll published Monday in the daily Al Día confirms other results of the Unimer poll, released last week – Arias came up with 46.2% of the vote, Solís with 21.5%, Libertarian Movement candidate Otto Guevara with 13.1%, Union for Change (UPC) candidate Antonio Alvarez Desanti with 8.4%, Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) candidate Toledo with 4.8% and National Union Party (PUN) candidate José Manuel Echandi with 4.7%. However, according to the poll, 31% of Costa Ricans are still undecided about who to vote for in the Feb. 5 elections. The gap between Arias and Solís is shrinking, compared to the last Demoscopía poll in August, with Arias falling 3.5% and Solís climbing 7.1%. Guevara also increased 4%.


• While the polls have been a blow for Unity candidate and legislator Toledo, he also lacks the support of Unity legislators, La Nación reported. The majority of the Unity legislators said they are only partially participating or not participating at all in the campaign to elect Toledo president. Meanwhile, 12 of 14 Liberation legislators are actively participating to elect their party’s aspirant, Arias.


• The Libertarian Movement Party, Union for Change and National Union Party will not release their platforms until January, La Nación reported. The three other principal parties – Unity, Liberation and PAC – have already released their platforms (TT, Dec. 2).


• Eighteen legislators have formed an official group against the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), establishing a Web site –– where legislative discussion of the agreement will be posted. The Legislative Assembly’s International Affairs Committee began discussion of CAFTA last week and sessions, held Mondays and Friday 9 a.m. to noon, are open to the public.


• The Red Cross has proposed a bill to the Legislative Assembly to finance the institution’s services through an additional ¢80 ($0.16) charge to phone bills, the daily La Nación reported. Such a charge could add up to ¢1.9 billion ($3.9 million) annually for the institution. The Red Cross estimates its expenses by the end of the year will be ¢3.8 billion ($7.6 million), but it needs ¢6.5 billion ($13.3 million) to improve. Its current budget is based on government funds and fundraising efforts. The bill doesn’t have much support among legislators, the daily reported.


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