Rodrigo Chaves assumed the presidency of Costa Rica with a mission to clean up the economy and after a sexual harassment scandal

The Economist Rodrigo Chaves took office this Sunday as the 49th president of Costa Rica for the period 2022-2026, with the primary task of cleaning up the economy of one of the countries with the most stable democracies in Latin America and after his election he apologized for the acts of sexual harassment of two subordinates.

The new ruler was sworn in at a ceremony held in Congress, in San José, in front of 97 international delegationsamong them the one headed by the King of Spain, Felipe VI.

“Yes, I swear,” Chaves said. before the president of the Legislative Assembly, Rodrigo Arias.

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Before the ceremony, the right-wing Chaves was with his wife, Signe Zeikate, in an ecumenical act. They then watched a presentation of typical dances in the Plaza de la Democracia, a few steps from the Costa Rican legislative building.

With 60 years old and a three-decade career at the World BankChaves comes to power with the challenge of overcoming the country’s economic crisis, with 23% of its population living in poverty (6.30% in extreme poverty) and 13.6% unemployed, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).

The Costa Rican economy, driven mostly by tourismwas severely impacted by the covid-19 pandemic.

“It is essential for the country that Chaves improve the economy. There have been many years of difficulties and politicians who do not finish convincing. This new government has an opportunity to do something different,” said Adrián Aguiluz, 35, a communicator and resident of the capital.

Recently Chaves pointed out that he hopes to “improve” the conditions of a loan of 1,700 million dollars with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), vital, according to the outgoing government of Carlos Alvarado, to keep the country’s finances afloat.

“This, it seems, will be a management focused on the economic part, the strong point of the president-elect. It is also a national concern in all sectors. It seems that we are going to witness a proposal for the restructuring and reorganization of public finances,” said political analyst Gina Sibaja.

apologies for sexual harassment

According to experts, the population privileged Chaves’ experience in economics, despite the fact that he carries a sanction for sexual harassment within the World Bank to two subordinates. After his election, the new president offered his “apologies” for those facts.

In addition, it has already advanced its opposition to environmental policies, in a country with a recognized global leadership on the issue and that has given up exploiting gas and oil.

Chavez has said that will not ratify the Escazú Agreementimportant regional pact to protect the defenders of the environment.

The new president is a surprising figure in politics, since his only step in state positions was for 180 days as Minister of Financeof the outgoing management, between 2019 and 2020. He left the position due to differences with Alvarado.

A few months later he appeared as a presidential candidate with a proposal based on the economic recovery of this country with 5.2 million inhabitants.

Diplomacy

At the moment, Costa Rica ignores the government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaraguaconsidering that his election for a fourth consecutive term lacked “democratic conditions” and has withdrawn his ambassador from Managua.

A few days after assuming Chaves was in favor of reinstating his ambassador in Managuaalthough he later retracted it.

He also invited Juan Guaidó to the investiture of Chaves, whom fifty countries, including the United States, recognize as president of Venezuela instead of Nicolás Maduro. Guaidó did not confirm his presence.

However, the future chancellor of Chaves, André Tinoco, told local media that recognizing Maduro is under evaluation. Analysts believe that the new government may take surprising directions.

“We will see if there is not a narrative change with respect to the cost of living and corruption as the main problems in the countrydepending on his campaign issues, because he could intensify his speech and minimize it to seek new narratives,” said fellow analyst Eugenia Aguirre.

Also confirmed at the investiture ceremony were the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, and her counterparts from Colombia and Morocco, Iván Duque and Aziz Akhannouchrespectively.

Also the leaders of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, and Panama, Laurentino Cortizo. Both countries, together with Costa Rica, make up the Alliance for Development in Democracy (ADD).

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Rodrigo Chaves assumed the presidency of Costa Rica with a mission to clean up the economy and after a sexual harassment scandal