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Costa Rica's Opposition Bloc Takes Control of Legislature

After almost a day without a Legislative directorate, an alliance of five opposition managed to take control of the Legislative Assembly from the ruling party, a situation not seen since 1949.

Juan Carlos Mendoza of the "opposition bloc" is the new chairman of the legislature today.

At the end of the day Monday, the opposition bloc won the election of the legislative directorate with all 31 legislators of the "alliance" voting for the Juan Carlos Mendoza as the new chairman of the Legislative Assembly.

The alliance is made of up the Acción Ciudadana (PAC), Movimiento Libertario (ML), Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), Accesibilidad sin Exclusión (PASE) and Frente Amplio who were successful against the ruling party, the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN).

Under the agreement by the alliance, Mendoza will lead the Legislature for the next twelve months, a member of the PUSC for 2012 and the ML for 2013. It is important to note that May 1 there is an election for a new directorate and though the alliance have their candidate designated for the next three years, yesterday's election if only for one year.

The result of Monday's vote is the loss of control of the legislature by the administration of Laura Chinchilla, who immediately sent a note to the alliance on Monday, telling them that the door to her office is always open and that she looks forward to working with the group for the coming year.

The opposition bloc was formed to derail a number of the government's proposals, including the putting a stop to the government's fiscal reform (tax plan) which proposes to raise revenue through a value added tax and other measures.

The PLN has the largest number of legislators in the Legislature, but not a majority of seats so the government relies on the minority parties for support.

Presidenta Chinchilla, for the first time in Costa Rica's history, did not get to give her annual report personally to the legislators, submitting her written report instead.

The rules of legislative procedure is the election of the chairman before the president can give its report on May 1 of each year.


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