Friday 27 January 2023

Chaves describes his electoral victory in Costa Rica as a “revolution”

Chaves said that he will lower the cost of living through decrees, among one he mentioned, to reduce the price of rice

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QCOSTARICA – The president-elect of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, on Monday described his electoral victory in the second round on Sunday as a “revolution” and promised to put aside the party flags in order to govern for the entire population of the country.

President-elect Rodrigo Chaves with legislator-elect Pilar Cisneros, the face of national television news for more than 20 years and the person singled out for Chaves’ rise to the minds and votes of Costa Ricans. Photo Fabian Hernandez

“There was a revolution in Costa Rica on April 3 and it is not an exaggeration. It is something that has not happened before and fundamentally changes the nature of what the Executive Power is going to be,” Chaves said in his first press conference after the electoral victory.

Chaves, from the new Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD), insisted that there was “a peaceful revolution within the framework of democracy” that responds to “a popular clamor” for a change in the way of governing Costa Rica and for more opportunities.

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“It is also clear that there was a kind of David and Goliath. The newest party, with fewer resources, the party that has never been in the Government or the Legislative Assembly, that has never even had a mayor, was victorious against the Goliath of Costa Rican politics,” Chaves said, referring to the rival Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN), that for decades alternated rule with the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) until 2014, when Costa Ricans rejected both parties in favor of the Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC) with two back-to-back governments. In the 2022 elections, the PAC was decimated, not electing a single legislator.

The PLN currently has 17 legislators in the unicameral Legislative Assembly and increases to 19 for the 2022-2026 period that begins on May 1, in contrast to the PPSD’s ten.

The president-elect attributed his victory to the support “of the neediest people in this country,” especially the inhabitants of the coastal provinces of Limón (Caribbean), Puntarenas (Mid and South Pacific) and Guanacaste (North Pacific), as well as the poorest communities in the center of the country, referred to as the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM).

Chaves, who with 52.9% of the votes defeated the PLN candidate, former president José María Figueres (47.1%), also acknowledged that “the largest political party in Costa Rica was the undecided” with 42.8%.

President-elect Rodrigo Chaves. The new president will be forced to negotiate with the other 5 parties represented in Congress and especially with the PLN.

“So many people far from the political process is a wake-up call from Costa Ricans to all the people who have power and who can influence public policies. There is a clear demand for real change,” he commented.

The president-elect called for unity with the other parties, to “stow the flags” and raise “the blue, white and red flag” of Costa Rica in their hearts.

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Chaves promised that there will be no friends or relatives in his cabinet and that he is open to receiving suggestions and recommendations from sectors and organized groups, regardless of party affinity.

Regarding his government plans, Chaves said that he will lower the cost of living through decrees, among which he mentioned one to reduce the price of rice.

He also announced that he will “improve” the financial agreement for the US$1.77 billion dollars loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that he will seek to modify the Ley de Reforma al Empleo Público (Public Employment Reform Law), approved earlier this year the legislators that establishes a global salary and reduces salary bonuses.

In international politics, he said that he wants to maintain “respectful” relations with all the countries of the world.

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The hot-spoken, 60-year-old economist, will govern Costa Rica for the next four years, taking office at noon on May 8.


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