March 6th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, introduced yesterday four bills with substantial reforms to public institutions, the Legislative Assembly, and the Constitution itself, which she says aim to improvement government beginning in 2014.
The bills are the result of a series of recommendations made by a “blue ribbon” committee at the request of the president, intended to modernize the Costa Rican government, considered “stunted” by political leaders and much of the citizenship alike.
Chinchilla, who concludes her term on May 8, 2014, met with the heads of the congressional caucuses to personally introduce the 42 proposals contained in the draft legislation, and after the meeting told a press conference that “there is a very positive atmosphere for reforms. “
The draft amendments to the Constitutional Jurisdiction Act amends the powers of the Constitutional Court, the highest judicial body of the country, to create special courts in actions of amparo and habeas corpus.
Another proposal would reform the rules of the Legislature, establishing a fixed amount of time that lawmakers get the floor, and fixed timelines for voting on legislation.
A third proposal presented by Chinchilla seeks to improve the functioning of public institutions through reforms to the Comptroller’s Office and other institutions. Part of that proposal includes time limits for the Comptroller to approve or reject state procurement contracts.
In addition, a fourth proposal would remove the boards of most of the country’s autonomous institutions, and instead, the government would appoint a chief executive for each institution. These institutions are responsible for public services such as electricity, water, home loans, and fuel sales.
A final proposal would reform the country’s constitution to change the way lawmakers are elected by adopting a system of electoral districts, rather than the current system of provincial lists.