This could be a defining week for the Luis Gullermo Solís administration.
Helio Falls, the finance minster, is under fire from lawmakers after his appearance Thursday at a committee hearing. His testimony irked opposition lawmakers so much that they are demanding he quit. In addition to being finance minister, Fallas is the first vice president.
This also could be the week that the Sala IV constitutional court makes a decision on the status of the minster of the Presidencia, Melvin Jiménez. The minster also happens to be a Lutheran bishop, and the Costa Rican Constitution is crystal clear in saying that the clergy cannot hold a minister’s job.
Even the Procuraduría General de la República has ruled the Constitution prohibits Jiménez holding the job. But Solís has defended his choice of the man who was his campaign manager.
Unlike Óscar Arias Sánchez, who managed to get the high court to approve his second run for the presidency, Solís has fewer friends there. However, the constitutional court is known to rule that items in the Constitution are unconstitutional.
Solís is unlikely to fire Fallas, who has been steadfast in his promotion of the proposed budget that is 19 percent higher than the previous year’s.
Karla Prendas Matarrita, a lawmaker from the Partido Liberación Nacional, accused Fallas of giving a slanted presentation on the budget to create a scenario he wanted to sell.
Another Liberación lawmakers, Rolando González, asked that Fallas quit after his legislative presentation. Jiménez accused the minister of being inconsistent.
Lawmakers seemed to be upset because Fallas was critical of the budgetary skills of previous presidents. The last two were members of the Liberación political party. They may also have been upset because Fallas was critical of the excessive rental agreements in the previous administration. Some Liberación party members are known to have such deals.
Losing either his minister of the Presidencia or Fallas would be a crippling blow to the Solís administration.
During his talk, Fallas said the Solís administration supported policies that were progressive so that those taxpayers would pay proportional to their wealth. This has been a continual refrain of ruling parties.
Even expats with little personal interest in national finances have been fascinated about how lawmakers are pushing Solís to cut the budget.
Most of the action has been within the Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios. headed by Ottón Solís, who happens to be of the same political party as the president.
Through his determination, Ottón Solís have converted himself into somewhat of a national hero.