President suffers two reverses at the hands of the constitutional court

President Luis Guillermo Solís suffered a double defeat Friday when the Poder Judicial announced two rulings by the constitutional court.

The magistrates rejected the president’s efforts to reverse a veto involving a comprehensive labor law and also a law that would have permitted vendors to remain at the west side of Plaza de la Democracia, a public street.

Both measures were vetoed by then-president Laura Chinchilla. The labor law would have encouraged strikes by public and private workers.

When he issued a decree reversing Ms. Chinchilla’s veto of a bill letting vendors remain on the public street, he made a point of visiting the Mercado de Artesanía to receive thanks from the merchants there. The Municipalidad de San José had filed an appeal to the Sala IV over the presidential decree because the municipality wants the street back.

Magistrates voted 5 to 2 that the lifting of the veto on the street, Calle 13, exceeded a time period authorized by legislative rules.

Magistrates decided, 6 to 1, that lifting the labor veto took place within the time period, but they also decided 4 to 3 that the presidential action was unconstitutional.

There was considerable judicial disagreement if the Costa Rican Constitution affords the president the power to lift the veto approved by a predecessor.

Some thought it did not, but others saw the power was implied by thedocument.

Casa Presidencial said that the executive branch would continue working with lawmakers to improve the condition of workers. And, it said, it would work with the Municipalidad de San José  to safeguard the commercial activities of the vendors.

The municipality had set up a building two blocks away that is being used as an artists market, but merchants on Calle 13 have said they think the location is too far from the normal flow of tourists.

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