San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Frustrated young lawmaker no longer part of the PAC

Lawmaker Andrea Morales has left the Citizen Action Party (PAC), calling her colleagues intolerant, inflexible and dogmatic.

Party members pressured Morales to leave because she refused to filibuster bills required to implement the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA).

“It’s clear that I’m not welcome in this party,” Morales said at a press conference Friday announcing her decision. “You can’t breathe in this party…There is no space to disagree.”

While Morales opposes CAFTA, she said the party must respect the majority of voters who approved the pact in an October referendum. Morales, president of the assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee, recently convened extra sessions to discuss an intellectual property bill intended to put Costa Rica in compliance with CAFTA.

Other party members have criticized her harshly in the press and in private, said Morales, who will remain in the assembly as an independent lawmaker. 

“Andrea was straying from our political line,” said Citizen Action faction head Francisco Molina. “All parties ask their lawmakers to follow a certain course. That’s normal in politics.”

Morales, along with the 16 other Citizen Action lawmakers, signed a pledge in 2006 to leave the Legislative Assembly if she left her party. Molina insisted that she make good on this promise.

But Morales refuses to leave. She said she has adhered closely to the party’s ethical code and its campaign promises, including a pledge not to obstruct majority will.

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