San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Group Seeks CAFTA Referendum

A group of citizens, including former and current legislators and business leaders, this week asked the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) to allow the group to round up signatures for a petition to send the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) to a popular vote, albeit nonbinding.

The recently approved referendum law cannot be applied to CAFTA, since it does not allow referendums to be conducted in matters involving taxes, according to legislator Janina Del Vecchio, head of the Foreign Affairs Commission, charged with discussing the pact. However, that didn’t keep the possibility of a CAFTA referendum from being discussed in the past (TT,March 11, 2005).

“The proposal is that the people (be given the chance to) express their opinion on an issue of such transcendence,” ex-legislator José Miguel Corrales told the daily La República. Corrales is part of the group that helped organize the petition request.

Should the Tribunal approve the request, the petition would require 5% of signatures of the electorate.


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