Thursday 24 June 2021

Evangelicals Make Up A Quarter of Costa Rica’s New Legislative Assembly

While the new government of Carlos Alvarado won’t be starting their work until May 8, Costa Rica’s new Legislative Assembly will formally begin work on Tuesday, May 1, Labor Day – a national holiday in Costa Rica – with 14 of its 57 new legislators evangelical Christians.

The deputies of the Partido Restauracion Nacional (PRN), led by Fabricio Alvarado, a devout Evangelical Christian, make up one of the main groups in opposition.

For the legislative period of 2018 to 2022, the PRN, with 14 members, are second to the largest bloc of legislators, the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) with 17; followed by the Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC) with 10; the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) with 9; the Partido Integración Nacional (PIN) with 3; the Partido Republicano Social Cristiano (PRSC) with two each; one for the Frente Amplio (FA); and one Inpedendent.

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The evangelicals, half of whom are pastors or preachers, were led by Fabricio Alvarado, a 43-year-old preacher, who surged from obscurity by harshly criticizing moves to recognize gay marriage. Fabricio won the popular vote in the February 4 presidential election, slightly ahead of his rival Carlos, but not the required 40% to lead the country. In the run-off election of April 4, Fabricio came a distant second with 39%. Carlos Alvarado was elected president with 61% of the vote. Despite the two men having same last name, they are not related.

The challenge for the President-elect is the fact that his party, despite a resounding victory, only holds 10 seats, that includes Costa Rica’s first openly-homosexual legislator, journalist Enrique Sanchez.

“There are differences over certain issues linked to the rights of women and human rights. We will stick to our positions and we will strengthen and defend them,” Sanchez told AFP.

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The former presidential candidate has taken a belligerent posture towards the president-elect’s new government. Fabricio Alvarado has sharply criticizing his rival even before he takes office on May 8.

“We cannot grant legitimacy to a corrupt, irresponsible government, which tramples on religious freedoms, and promotes a secular state and the death and destruction of the family,” Fabricio Alvarado wrote on Twitter on Thursday, saying his deputies would be vigilant in their “defense of the family.”

Facing the new legislators, on their first day of work on Tuesday, is the urgent task to approve a tax reform, something that the four previous Legislatures have been unable to pass.

On Thursday, the incoming president unveiled his cabinet of 25 ministers (14 women and 11 men), who represent the main parties in the Legislative Assembly.

None of them are evangelicals.


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