Lawmakers go to constitutional court over president’s veto of a veto

Some 17 lawmakers have asked the Sala IV constitutional court to void a law that was resurrected by President Luis Guillemo Solís to save the mercado de artesanía.

This is another strange twist because a previous group of lawmakers passed the measure.

In what has to be unprecedented in Costa Rican government, Solís declared last week that a veto of the law by then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez had been repealed. In other words he vetoed the 2009 veto.

The law as originally passed would provide space for the tourist market on a public street just west of the Plaza de la Democracia. Stalls have been there for 20 years since vendors were chased away from the Plaza de la Cultura.

The Municipalidad de San José is trying to install them in another building several blocks away.

The presidential action did not sit well with some lawmakers, who complained that the president’s action came much too late to comply with legislative rules. Usually proposed laws have four years to pass or fail. This one was filed in 2006.

In the court appeal, the lawmakers said the president’s action was not constitutional. The case went to the constitutional court Thursday morning. The 16-page appeal said the action by Solís violates the autonomy of a municipality, and legislative rules.

All but one of the lawmakers is a member of the rival Partido Liberación Nacional.

The municipality is expected to file a similar appeal.

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