Control of legislature hinges on new coalition

Control of the Asamblea Legislativa appears to be headed for the hands of a small political party that has just four members. It is the Partido Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión.

Rita Chaves, one of the four, said Monday afternoon that she and her fellow party members were pulling out of an alliance that has run the legislature for the last year. Instead, her party will vote with the Partido Liberación Nacional as long as she and her fellow party members are elected to the top offices in the legislature.

There was no confirmation. But with the four lawmakers of Partido Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión and one independent lawmaker, Carlos Avendaño Calvo of Partido Restauración Nacional, the coalition will have 29 votes, 50.8 percent of the legislators.

Liberación is the party of President Laura Chinchilla. A coalition of opposition parties wrested control of the legislature last May 1 to install a member of the Partido Acción Ciudadana as president.

The Asamblea Legislativa reorganizes each May 1. This is the third of the four-year term of the current legislature.

The party that controls the legislature can decide on agenda items and also enjoys better offices.

The leadership is not fixed until the actual vote is taken. With independent Avendaño being the swing vote, it is possible that he might be able to negotiate a deal with the parties that control the legislature now.

The new coalition also might be an advantage to the Chinchilla administration as it tries to pass a revised tax plan.

There was no mention of why Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión made such an abrupt change. However, over the weekend, Víctor Danilo Cubero Corrales of Movimiento Libertario expressed his appreciation of cockfighting. That drew strong criticism from the animal rights sector. Cubero was the apparent candidate of the opposition coalition. When he dropped out Sunday night, there was no obvious successor.

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