San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lawmakers elect new Legislative Assembly president

An agreement between the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) and the Access Without Exclusion Party (PASE) placed Victor Emilio Granados, of PASE, as the new president of the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

The pact between the PLN, PASE and the evangelical lawmakers representing the National Restoration Party gave Granados enough votes to take over as the head of Costa Rica’s Congress, and it also put President Laura Chinchilla’s government back in charge of the assembly.

“I bow with respect and open my heart to humbly confess that at each step I take, I get closer to the man who I try to be, and I walk away from anyone who I might have been,” Granados said in his first speech as legislative president, a reference to a criminal conviction he faced in 1989.

Granados defeated opposition candidate Marielos Alfaro, of the Libertarian Movement Party, by a vote of 30 to 27 at 9:23 a.m. Tuesday.

Granados, 46, co-founded PASE with the party’s president, Óscar López, in 2004. Two other PASE members, Martín Monestel and Rita Cháves, were elected as the assembly’s vice president and secretary, respectively.

The new assembly president almost went to prison for two years in 1989, after he was found to be allegedly involved in a bank scam, according to the daily La Nación. López defended Granados saying he has “reinvented himself after committing a grave error 23 years ago.”

After just two and a half hours, lawmakers finished voting, and the new directory of the Legislative Assembly for the next 12 months will be:

President: Victor Emilio Granados (PASE)

Vice president: Martin Monestel (PASE)

First secretary: Rita Chaves (PASE)

Second secretary: Xinia Espinoza (PLN)

First pro-secretary: Carlos Avendaño (National Restoration Party)

Second pro-secretary: Justo Orozco (Costa Rican Renovation Party)

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