Libertarian José Alberto Alfaro (right) sitting in the chair of the legislative president, Antonio Álvarez Desanti. Starting January 22 Alfaro will have the chair pernanenty. On the left,  is fellow ML legislator Natalia Diaz and, behind, Rosibel Ramos of the PUSC party, who predicted the paralyzing of the government’s tax amdement. (Diana Méndez/La Nacion)

Q COSTA RICA / The fate of President Luis Guillermo Solis’ proposed tax plan that would see increases in taxes, is now in the control of Otto Guevara and his fellow Movimiento Libertario (ML) party legislators, with the election of Jose Alberto Alfaro as chairman.

What this means is, that if the Otto and party keep to their word, the Legislative Assembly will be working at an even slower pace than ever, with the single purpose of frustrating the government’s plans to raise taxes.

“There will be breaks every few minutes, most likely, most likely the discussions and point of order would be extended and very probably all the pernicious extraordinary agenda, which is driven by the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), will sink. Nothing at all will move,” said Otto Guevara.

How did this happen?

It appears the government party, the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), caused it, perhaps not willingly in requiring that the chairman or president of the Legislative Assembly, Antonio Álvarez Desanti, legisaltor for the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN), step down to run for the 2018 presidential nomination of his party.

Desanti had been described by the government as “a fundamental piece” in the political agreements of last year to get the tax amendments approved in the legislature.

On Tuesday, Desanti was asked by PAC legislators to step down, in that they would not tolerate him running the Legislature all the while taking part in his political campain. His resignation, effective on January 22, means that the government’s proverbial thorn in the side, the Liberatios assumes the chair of the Legislature.

The rotation of the assuming leadership of the Legislative Assembly is by agreement given than the PAC does not have a majority in Congress.

Thus, in less than a day, President Solis’ tax plan went from almost a sure thing to, well stalling and more stalling and possibly dead in the water.

For his part, Desanti criticized Solis and his government for “its lack of decision and not moving the work (tax plan) forward”.

The liberationist argued that if the Solis government preferred that a candidate did not run the Legislature, it should have measured the consequences well. Desanti’s aspiration for the PLN presidential candidate nomination have not be a secret, months ago Desanti publicly announced his intentions.

PAC house leader, Laura Garro, lamented what had happened, including criticizing her fellow PAC legislators. “They did it in a personal capacity, something I do not share…they overstepped themselves,” said Garro,

Garro added that the “picture is now less clear. It hurts me personally, Antonio Alaverez Desanti, is a person who has done good work in managing Congress. I trust that they (the Libertarians), although they are not aligned with the government, have a commitment to Costa Rica…that is the faith I have”.

From Casa Presidencial (Government House), the word is that the PAC legislators acted on their own,  attacking the legislative president, and not on the government’s instructions.


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