Sunday 24 October 2021

[BLOG] SHOULD COSTA RICA ADOPT TWO TERM PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS?

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Instead of our constitutional single term in office rule, perhaps it would be better for Costa Rica to allow a president to be elected for two consecutive terms. As it now stands, a president can be elected for one term, sit out of office for one term and then be elected once more.

At the time one term made sense considering the Somoza family “president forever” syndrome and later followed up by Noriega to the south. We had the right to fear more than a one term, four year president. But times have changed and Costa Rica is a complicated if not efficient society and I need to question if one term in office is sufficient to effect change.

Oscar Arias’ said, “Sometimes I wonder if Costa Rica is even manageable.” The man of peace might have a point.

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Sunday, La Nación, a daily Spanish language newspaper ran an interview with the current president, don Luis Guillermo Sólis who said that he was handed a country that was like a an unmaintained farm. Three weeks into office and he has concluded what most of us have already known for years.

If don Luis Guillermo is not going to raise taxes for two years, then that means he must dedicate his administration to seeking out evaders while reducing the costs of government operations for one-half of his time in office. It would be something no other president has accomplished in four years much more than two.

Addressing the trials and tribulations of the Chinchilla Administration is fodder for a book. Bottom line, immediately following her election and after being assured that all she needed to do was be a care taker, doña Laura discovered Costa Rica was broke and if possible getting more broke by the day. In her four years she could not correct the growing deficit, had to increase government spending and most importantly, she could not pass a critical fiscal package.

No question that if allowed, Oscar Arias was popular enough to be elected to two consecutive terms in office. And so was Calderon, even Rodriguez. Don Abel Pacheco not and neither would Laura Chinchilla be re-elected.

It seems hard to fathom that President Sólis will be able to complete 50% of what he has promised during his four year term. He might make a sizable dent and the people Costa Rica might just want him to continue with his programs, but he cannot, unless he sits out one election.

Again, should we have two term presidents?

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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