San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Opposition Legislators Reject Reforms for Speedy Votes

Members of the Legislative Assembly’s three largest opposition parties joined forces to reject a change in the assembly’s regulations that would allow for voting deadlines.

The Citizen Action Party (PAC), the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) and the Libertarian Movement Party maintain this is not the time to discuss regulatory changes in the assembly, since many bills are already under consideration on the assembly floor and in commissions, according to the daily La Nación. A special commission created in May, when the new legislators took office, has been considering the reforms, but has never met.

“A reform to the Reglamento (assembly regulations) should be sought at a better moment,” PUSC leader Lorena Vásquez told the daily. “There are too many things on the agenda.”

Mayí Antillón, leader of the commission to consider reforms and faction head of the leading National Liberation Party (PLN), which brought President Oscar Arias to power and holds 25 seats in the assembly – more than any other party, but not a majority in the 57-seat legislature – reiterated that reforming the regulations is essential, but admitted “it’s not viable to achieve 38 votes (for) reform.”

“I don’t perceive any interest in the legislators in changing the Reglamento. These things should come from a great consensus, or there’s no way to do it,” Assembly President Francisco Pacheco, also of Liberation, told the daily.

The assembly has a packed agenda, including tax reform, the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), reforms to state-held monopolies, loans for education and sewer improvement, and other bills. During the last assembly (2002-2006), when a controversial tax reform bill was discussed for nearly the entire term and never passed, some legislators and outside observers clamored for change to the assembly’s regulations.


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