San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

2010 election bell has sounded

Marching closer to the February 2010 vote, the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) sounded an official kick-off to the campaign season on Wednesday.

To an audience full of dignitaries, presidential aspirants and their staff, as well as the media, TSE President Luis Antonio Sobrado said, “Each Costa Rican is the (craftsman) of a common destiny, marked by the results of the next election. To one degree or another, we will all be responsible for the quality of this electoral process – and whether we know it or not – the opportunities that lay before us.”

Sobrado took the opportunity to remind political parties of the fines against illegal advertising and to inform media outlets or their responsibility of providing 30 minutes of free air time to the elections tribunal each week.

Wednesday marked exactly four months to the elections of Feb. 7, which – so far – has eight candidates campaigning. Absent from the political scene at the moment is a candidate representing the long-dominant Social Christian Unity Party (La Unidad).

After former presidential candidate Rafael Angel Calderón was sentenced to five years in prison Monday, he renounced his candidacy and asked his party to appoint someone new.

According to a press release from La Unidad, party president Luis Fishman expects to appoint a candidate following a convention of the party´s national assembly this weekend. Local media sources have identified Jorge Eduardo Sánchez, a 47-year-old legislator and lawyer, as a possible candidate.

“This unjust conviction (of Calderón) motivates us to continue fighting for the party, which has accomplished great things for Costa Rica,” Fishman said in a statement. “The Social Christians will not break apart or give our vote to any other party or candidate.”

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