QCOSTARICA – The majority of municipalities rule out applying the ‘Le Seca’ (Dry Law) for the national elections that will be held on Sunday, according to a survey carried out by the Unión Nacional de Gobiernos Locales (UNGL) – National Union of Local Governments.
So far, only the canton of Alajuelita confirmed that it will prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages and in the case of the La Union, Sarapiquí, Quepos, Golfito and Talamanca have yet to make a decision.
“Until today, Thursday, February 3, 84 (cantons and district councils) will not apply the ‘dry law’, while one will prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages in this presidential election. The rest have not informed us about it,” Karen Porras, president of the UNGL said in a statement on Thursday.
It is Municipal councils who decree whether or not to apply the Dry Law. In the event that a municipal council does not pronounce on the application of the law or it is not included in the local government regulations, “the non-prohibition of the sale of liquor in the cantons will be applied.”
In June 2012, the Ley de Regulación y Comercialización de Bebidas con Contenido Alcohólico (Law of Regulation and Commercialization of Beverages with Alcoholic Content) went into effect, leaving the decision in the hands of local governments, including days of civic acts (such as elections, parades or other cantonal activities.
Prior to 2012, it was the central government’s responsibility to prohibit or permit the sale of alcohol. In the case of elections, the ban would be across the country to include the day before, the of, and the day after the elections. The thought there was to allow voters to have a clear mind prior to the vote and eliminate the drunken brawls after.
In addition, according to article 14, sanctions can be imposed on those who fail to comply, with a fine of between one and ten base salaries.
In the cantons that decide to apply the Dry Law in case of non-compliance, sanctions can be imposed on those who fail to comply, with a fine of between one and ten base salaries.
The polls will be open on Sunday from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm.
In areas where the Dry Law is applied, supermarkets, for example, must either remove all alcohol (beer, wine and liquor) from their shelves, or the more common practice is to section off the area.
The prohibition on the sale of liquor also applies to liquor stores, bars, restaurants and establishments licensed to that end.