QCOSTARICA – The two-party system of power appears to be returning to Costa Rica ahead of the 2018 presidential elections, as evidenced by the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) and Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) results in Sunday’s municipal elections.
Meanwhile, the Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC), that the party that took the country by surprise in 2014, and the Frente Amplio (FA) lost signficant strength in the 2016 municipal polls.
Following the results on Sunday, Feb. 7, the PLN took control of 48 cantones (down from 59 in 2010) and the PUSC, 14 (up from 0 in 2010), the PAC (governing party in national politics) took 6 cantones (the same, number in 2010), and the Frente Amplio, 1 (0 in 2010). The biggest loser Sunday was the Movimiento Liberatio (ML), headed by the perennial presidential candidate, Otto Guevara,taking none (down from 2 in 2010).
Political experts believe that for 2018 the country will revert to the traditional two-party system, the liberals (PLN) and conservatives (PUSC), back to the way things were for second half of the twentieth century, when PLN and PUSC alternated power.
Bipartisan politics would help the country to make decision, because it is easier to agree between a couple of large groups, than say ten or more at a time. Under bipartisanship the country saw changes like the protection of workers, opening of the banking system and major social reforms, including universal access to schools.
The two-party system is not necessarily a solution or cure for the country’s economic problems. The political fragmentation in the country in recent years was due, at least in part, to the perception that familiarity between the major parties tends to promote corruption.
However, fragmentation may run its course, it has been several years in which the Legislative Assembly has been the scene of chronic gridlock on several important issues, from infrastructure projects to tax reform, among others.
At this time the Legislative Assembly is composed of legislators representing nine political parties and two independents.
With notes from Esteban Arrieta, La Republica