San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Could Costa Rican voters get the chance to remove lawmakers?

President Laura Chinchilla will promote 41 of the 97 recommendations for governmental reform that a group of six former government officials and political leaders proposed last January.

Among the proposals to improve governance that the executive branch is supporting are amendments to the Constitution, new procedures for the Legislative Assembly and new public administration laws.

Chinchilla said she would support a constitutional reform to allow lawmakers to be re-elected for two consecutive terms, but dismissed the idea of increasing the number of legislators from 57 to 87.

Under the proposal, lawmakers would be chosen by electoral districts, not by provinces as they are now, and they could be removed from office by a public vote. But lawmakers also would have the power to remove ministers from office “to balance the proposal,” Chinchilla said.

The president also said her administration would set a three-month deadline for lawmakers to vote on priority bills.

Chinchilla said she would back the creation of additional constitutional courts to help ease the case load at the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV.

Other proposed reforms include the elimination of boards of directors at most of the country’s semi-autonomous agencies, excluding the Social Security System, the National Insurance Institute, the Public Services Regulatory Authority and public banks.

The president warned that “if lawmakers fail to approve the reforms in a reasonable time, the executive branch will consider sending them all as a package bill to a referendum.”

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