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Wednesday 04 July 2012   | Costa Rica News Home | Colombia News

Costa Rica's Opposition Demand Dismissal of Liberman and Garnier

Costa Rica's opposition legislators are demanding the dismissal of vice-president, Luis Liberman and the ministro de Educación Pública (MEP), Leonardo Garnier, and have threatened not to support the presidenta's financial plans.

Minister Garnier says he will not resign over the controversy

Last week the two ministers were found to have violated the ethics code by Council of Ethics, a body appointed by the president and Legislature, helping their friend, Flor Isabel Rodribguez, the wife of the former Ministro de Hacienda Fernando Herrero. Rodriguez was also a presidential advisor.

See: Liberman and Garnier Violated Principles of Ethics, Report

Presidenta Laura Chinchilla's party, the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) has no majority in the legislature and relies on the opposition.

At the heart of the opposition's withdraw of support is the government's financial Plan B and the planned sale of US$4 billion in Eurobonds which the government hopes will help realize savings on its interest payments. Costa Rica planned to sell an initial US$500 million before the end of 2012.

Liberman and Garnier were censured for writing letters of recommendation that led to the Empresa Procesos, a company owned by Rodriguez, win a contract with the state oil refinery, RECOPE, in 2011.

"We won't approve these (financial) measures until the presidenta takes responsibility and considers the recommendations of the Ethics Council report demanding the resignation of the vice president and Minister Garnier," said Oscar Lopez, legislator and leader of the Partido Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión (PASE).

The Presidenta is holding tough, saying through the ministro de Comunicacion, Francisco Chacon, she will not ask for the resignation of two of her key ministers.

Although the Eurobonds program is one the country needs urgently, experts don't think the Presidenta will swallow her pride and give in to the demands of the legislators.

The controversy over the recommendation letters is the latest in a series of corruption and political scandals that have rocked the government over the past six months.

Since Chinchilla took power two years ago, 11 out of 23 ministers in the cabinet have given up their posts, some fired (asked to resign), while others resigned voluntarily.

Many Costa Ricans feel that the Presidenta does not have the capacity to rid people from her team who have been found to act improperly, adding to the growing perception that Laura Chinchilla is not in control of the ship called Costa Rica.



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