Citizen Action Party (PAC) lawmaker Henry Mora Jiménez, 55, on Thursday was elected president of Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly Directorate for the 2014-2015 period.
Mora is an economist and holds several graduate degrees in statistics, economic policy, economic sciences and planning.
The legislator was elected with 30 votes of a total of 57 by securing support from lawmakers of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) and the Broad Front Party (FA). National Liberation Party candidate Sandra Piszk received 18 votes, all from her own party.
The first session of the Legislative Assembly 2014-2018 began at 9 a.m. Thursday and was interrupted by several recesses requested by lawmakers, mainly from minority parties, who sought to negotiate their votes in exchange for political promises.
Mora’s election follows several days of intense negotiations between representatives of the nine parties elected to the Assembly.
In recent days, PAC had negotiated with members of Costa Rica’s ultra-conservative evangelical parties to shelve discussion of a bill that would recognize the rights of same-sex couples, sparking a firestorm on social media by PAC supporters who consider the issue a non-negotiable matter of human rights.
That agreement, however, appears to have broken down on Thursday morning, as PAC legislators now say they will refuse to support the request by evangelical lawmakers.
Mora earned a degree in economics at the University of Costa Rica with an emphasis on statistics. From the National University of Costa Rica, he earned a master’s degree in political economics. He completed postgraduate studies in applied economics at the Catholic University in Brabant, the Netherlands. And he obtained a doctorate in business and economic science from the Latin American University of Science and Technology in Costa Rica. Finally, Mora received a post-doctorate in public goods at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.
Negotiations for the remaining posts of the directorate are ongoing in the Assembly’s main chamber, and President Laura Chinchilla’s State of the Nation speech, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., could be delayed by the voting.