Weekly Report - 12 May 2022 (WR-22-19)

COSTA RICA: Chaves takes office, stokes controversy with initial moves

Costa Rica’s new president, Rodrigo Chaves, whose electoral victory upended national politics and signalled a major break from the establishment [WR-22-14], has taken office. Having fought a bitter run-off campaign against former president José María Figueres (Partido Liberación Nacional, 1994-1998), a scion of the political elite, Chaves’ opening moves are likely to face close scrutiny for signs of his willingness to compromise; his conservative Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD), which only registered in 2020, has just 10 seats in the new 57-member unicameral legislature. Chaves’ ministerial team, now unveiled in its entirety, might indicate concessions to the opposition. However, some choices remain controversial and, along with other initial moves, raise doubts as to his pledged commitment to democracy and transparency, a major vote-winner amid public anger with a political class discredited over various corruption scandals [WR-21-49].

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