The ministro de la Presidencia, Melvin Jimenez, faced by the press after allegations that he paid to destabiilze Otton Solís' leadership of the PAC party. Photo: Jorge Arce / La Nacion
The ministro de la Presidencia, Melvin Jimenez, faced by the press after allegations that he paid to destabiilze Otton Solís’ leadership of the PAC party. Photo: Jorge Arce / La Nacion

COSTA RICA NEWS – Is the Ministro de la Presidencia, Melvin Jiménez, next in line of the departed  of the  inner circle of President Luis Guillermo Solís? Probably if Ottón Solís has his way. And given the recent events surrounding the departure of the President’s advisor, Jiménez may already be packing his bags.

If you will recall, the founder of the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), former presidential candidate and legislator, Ottón Solís, forced the removal of Ivan Barrantes, the political strategist who was paid millions of colones for a PAC victory in the presidencial elections and advisor to President Solís, for possible conflict of interest.

Minister calls fanciful interpretations by deputy mayor.

Now, the legislator says he has lost confidence in Jiménez, who is President’s Solís’ right-hand. (The office of the Ministro de la Presidnecia is similar that of Chief of Staff in the U.S. presidency.)

Solís made his comments of his distrust in Jiménez from his office in the Legislature building, next to the headquarters of the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC) legislative leadership, while watching Jiménez elude the press.

The minister sent a statement Thursday night, denying any involvement in a plot to destablize Ottón Solís’ leadership of the PAC party.

“I categorically deny it; We have always respected the position Ottón Solís as founder and leader.  His input and advice was, and is still very important and has always been taken into consideration,” said Jiménez.

According to Solís, he said that from now on he will be uncomfortable meeting with Jiménez, who is the link between the political factions in the legislature and the government. “It will be very uncomfortable, not so much for me, but for him,” said the legislator.

The situation arises out an email revealed by La Nacion on Thursday from the deputy mayor and leader of the PAC in Guatuso (San Carlos), Wilson Campos, in which he states that while a legislator (2009-2013), the now ministro de la Presidencia, gave him money to attend sessions and take a contradictory position against decisions defending Solís.

In a separate report, the money is alleged to have come from the coffers of the Lutheran Church, of which Jiménez is a Bishop. (Currently the question of Jiménez’s eligibility of holding public office while still being a Bishop is in question, and a clarification expected soon by the Constitutional Court.)

“Not important that I have lost confidence in him (Jiménez); what matters is that I trust the President,” said Solís.

The legislator avoided asking directly for the President to remove Jiménez, but insisted that this “is improper action of a member of the government.”

Leader of PLN, legislator Antonio Alvarez, “it says much about the ethics touted by the PAC.”

The future of Jiménez’s role in government will depend on whether he is able to clarify the situation to the public, according to PAC legislator Franklin Corella, who though said he is not speaking for all legislators, expressed that that is the general sentiment within the PAC caucus.

Legislators of the oppositioin, however, are calling on the resignation of Jiménez.

One of those is Antonio Alvarez, a high profile legislator for the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), who said “it says much about the ethics touted by the PAC.”

Rolando González, also of the PLN, told La Nacion that he believes Jiménez should be accountable and “has an obligation to tell the truth.”

Over at the Frente Amplio, Gerado Vargas, said he knows Wilson Campos for the last three decades and has never considered him a liar. “If Wilson says it so in his email, its very delicate …” said Vargas.

The leader of the Movimiento Libertario, legislator and former presidential candidate, Otto Guevara, he sees the political game within the PAC not unlike that of the PLN and the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC).

Sources: La Nacion; CRHoy


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