San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Diverse congress awaits Chinchilla after May 8

Laura Chinchilla may have enjoyed a wide margin in Sunday´s election, but she faces a divided Legislative Assembly when she steps into office on May 8.

Her party, the National Liberation Party (PLN) claimed 23 of the legislature´s 57 seats – as of Monday´s count – down a seat from the incumbent party´s current 24. Analysts expect the process of divvying seats could go on for a couple of days this week, following Sunday´s election.

Twenty-three seats is an unquestionable accomplishment but not quite the 29 needed to move bills through the assembly by the PLN´s effort alone.

The rest of the seats went to the Citizen Action Party (11), the Liberation Movement (10), the Accessibility Without Exclusion Party (four) and the Social Christian Unity Party (six), while the Broad Front Party, the Costa Rican Renovation Party and the National Restoration Party each received one.

Reluctant to comment on the congressional results after the polls closed Sunday, Chinchilla did say her government would be one of collaboration.

“Independently of how the Legislative Assembly will be configured, our effort will be to establish a permanent dialogue with the political parties and social sectors of the country,” she told reporters.

Costa Rica replaces its Legislative Assembly with new members every four years. Candidates are not directly elected, but are appointed from a pool of party members after voters indicate their party preference in the polls. Based on the percentage of votes each party receives in each province, a specified number of their candidates enter into the assembly. Because of the complexity of the process, the final legislative makeup is often unknown for days after the polls close.

See the Feb. 12 print or digital edition of The Tico Times for more on this story.

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