The agreed to seating position of the new 2014-2018 legislators who take their seats on May 1.
The agreed to seating position of the new 2014-2018 legislators who take their seats on May 1. | Photo: Aarón Sequeira, La Nacion

They will not take their seats another wee, but already Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) and Frente Amplio (FA) legislators to-be have divided the 10 strategic seats on the floor of the Legislative Assembly — their desks occupy an area known as the “gallinero” (chicken coop).

What makes these desks so special is that they occupy an area where it is quite easy to get recognized during a floor debate. Apparently, the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN)  with the most seats and the President-elect’s Partido Accion Cuidadana  (PAC) did not move fast enough to get the choice places.

The arrangement of seating in floor sessions is quite unique. It takes the form of an arch, when seen from above. The “pillars’ of the arch consist of two rows of 17 desks. The curving top of the arch consists of the rest of the desks, but is a double row that curves.

The row in front has only eight seats but the back row (the centre of which is the “gallinero”) is an arc of 10 desks. Both the arches face the main desk at which the directors of the assembly sit. Thus, they can see all their colleagues and are in a position to be recognized for speeches on legislation.

Behind one of the “pillars’ of deputies is seating for the press in a glassed in section. On the other side of the chamber is the public gallery, usually not filled except when the most contentious bills are up for a vote. But some last minute changes were made.

The first assignments had PAC members in one pillar sitting with their backs to the press gallery and National Liberation in the traditional governing party seat with their backs to the public. This will be reversed, congressional executive director Antonio Ayales told La Nacion.

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