San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
The Solís Administration

Costa Rica president off to a rough start, survey says

President Luis Guillermo Solís faced a steep learning curve coming into Costa Rica’s highest office without any previous elected experience, and the people aren’t cutting him any slack.

The president has seen a steep drop in his approval ratings since July 2014, according to a survey from the University of Costa Rica released Wednesday.

After his first 100 days in office, Solís enjoyed a 68 percent approval rating among citizens who said they had a lot or some confidence in him. That support dropped to 42 percent in Wednesday’s survey.

More than 76 percent surveyed said that they did not think Solís would be able to bring about the change he campaigned on. That pessimism bled into respondents’ opinions on the state of the country: Only 20 percent said that the government was well-run, down from 39.2 percent in July 2014; and 32.2 percent said that the country was in bad shape.

A full 60 percent said that the economy was “bad” or “very bad.”

The survey was based on calls to 793 people between April 8 and April 30 from all parts of the country and across a variety of educational backgrounds, ages and sex.

Respondents also took notice of the shake-ups in Solís’ cabinet. A majority of respondents said that the president’s cabinet appointments were among his worst decisions and that the dismissal of former Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez and others were among his best.

The latest casualty of the cabinet clean-up was former Culture Minister Elizabeth Fonseca, who resigned Tuesday amidst the fallout from the International Arts Festival debacle. Solís has lost six ministers so far during his brief time in office.

Despite the poor numbers, more respondents were hopeful about the near future than not. More than 33 percent said the government would improve. While that number has shrunk significantly since the 59.2 percent who felt optimistic about the future in July 2014, there are still more Costa Ricans who feel good about the future of the administration than those who believe it will stay the same (30.5 percent), or worsen (25.1 percent).

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Ken Morris

Looks about right. The honeymoon is over but Ticos haven’t lost hope.

Two things stand out to me from the survey itself though. One is that the sample is heavily weighted to the metro area. It’s not clear what the rural folks are thinking. The other is that the legislative assembly polls the lowest of all government institutions. It’s possible that Solís can use this to his advantage to get something done, which the survey as a whole suggests the Ticos want.

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Jim Ryan

One of the issues where the Solis administration has been most disappointing has been their handling of small-scale renewable energy, ie private solar generation for homes and business. When Solis appointed Carlos Obregon as CEO of ICE he essentially appointed a dinosaur who is opposed to any private generation, large or small scale, and who closed down the ICE Pilot Program as quickly as he could. Obregon is committed to restoring ICE to its monopoly position in generation rather than helping the country to reduce carbon or customers to reduce the cost of electricity.
This may win favor with the powerful unions which helped to elect Solis, but it removes the tremendous benefit of small scale solar from consumers…..and hardly represents a socialist approach to the ‘democrotization’ of electricity supply. While the rest of Central America and much of the world are going forward with policies promoting small-scale. distributed generation, especially solar, Costa Rica is in fact going backwards. Such a shame!

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