Women will set the tone for the first year of the new Legislative Assembly (Congress), with the election of Carolina Hidalgo Herrera, as president of the six-member multiparty legislative body that includes five women.

Carolina Hidalgo, the new president of the Legislative Assembly, elected on Tuesday

Hidalgo, 35, from San Ramon, and currently living in Alajuela, is a lawyer and is a legislative member of the Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC).

On Tuesday, she was elected by a majority vote, the first woman of the PAC to steer the Legislature for the next 12 months. She is also the third woman in the country’s history to preside over the Congress.

The last time a woman presided over Congress was 18 years ago, when Rina Contreras López, 50 at the time, of Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), was elected for the 2000-2011 period. Before her, for the 1986-1987 period, Rosemary Karspinsky Dodero, 52 at the time, del Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), held the post.

Hidalgo, who is up at 4:10 a.m. every day for her 2.5-kilometer swim, campaigned to promote initiatives in favor of urban reordering and encourage the use of collective transport and the bicycle. She has also spoken of her “commitment to the comprehensive policy of sports and recreation,” as well as the need to promote reforms to the regulations of the Legislative Assembly.

The new president of the Congress, Carolina Hidalgo, likes to mobilize by bicycle. Photo courtesy of the fraction of the PAC

Moreover, Hidalgo is “totally” in favor of same-sex marriage and the need to legalize abortion, because he considers “that we must advance in the sexual and reproductive rights of women.”

The other young woman to influence the Legislative process is Maria Ines Solis Quiros, 34 years old, who was elected vice-president of the Congress.

Three other women make up the Congress board: Ivonne Acuna Cabera (36) of the Restauracion Nacional; Yorleno Leon Marchena (47) of the PLN; and Shirley Dias Mejia (48) of the PUSC. Luis Fdo. Chacon Monge (59) of the PLN is the only male member of the multiparty board.

Infograph from La Nacion