Monday 6 February 2023

Sala IV rejects appeals to limit re-election of municipal mayors

People elected to occupy municipal positions may not spend more than 8 consecutive years in those positions.

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QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court, commonly known as ‘Sala IV’ rejected three appeals of unconstitutionality filed by organizations linked to the municipal sector against Ley 7994, in particular article 14 of the Law, that limits the indefinite re-election of mayors and other popularly elected authorities of the municipal regime.

The Magistrates ruled out formal and procedural defects in the legislation that establishes that re-election will only be allowed for a second period, that is, four additional years and is applicable to mayors, councilors and trustees.

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The indefinite re-election of municipal authorities was finalized in April after then-President Carlos Alvarado signed the law that limits the continuity of officials such as mayors.

As of this moment, the people elected to occupy municipal positions may not spend more than 8 consecutive years in those positions.

This implies that if they want to return to the position, they must wait out one election cycle, that is four years before being re-elected.

Fernando Castillo, president of Sala IV, indicated that the Law can be applied to its full extent.

A series of changes in the regulations of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) – Supreme Electoral Tribunal – was recently published in the Official Gazette to apply this legislation in the 2024 municipal elections.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has indicated that the principles of representative democracy include, in addition to the periodicity of elections and political pluralism, the obligations to prevent a person from remaining in power and to guarantee alternation in power. and the separation of powers.

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One of the better-known mayors to be affected by the Law and the Constitutional Court ruling is long-time San Jose mayor, Johnny Araya, who has been at the helm of the capital city for more than two decades.




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