By: Marisol Arias Photo courtesy: María Rosa López
- 4 229 votes secure her majority to run a Municipality with important challenges and urged of leadership
- Election of canton authorities registered abstention rate of 54.1%
With a narrow margin that kept Santa Cruz residents on tenterhooks for many weeks, María Rosa López, of Partido de Liberación Nacional, will be the new mayoress of the canton.
On Thursday, February 25, the Election Supreme Court (TSE) informed that mayors and vice-mayors of the provinces of San José, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Guanacaste and Limón were declared elected. The statement of the TSE made official the February 7th Municipal election results.
López, of the PLN, counted 4229 votes; consequently she won her nearest rival, Jorge Arturo Alfaro Orias, of Partido de Integración Nacional, who obtained 4073.
In an electoral contest characterized by apathy and poor political debates, the PLN achieved the post one more time, after eight years in power in Santa Cruz, amid citizenship demands for solutions about strategic issues for the development of the canton.
The new Mayoress
María Rosa López gets the Municipality of Santa Cruz to assume the local post for the term 2016-2020. The political formula is composed of two Vice- mayors: First Vice-mayor, Iván Francisco Ramírez Camareno and Second Vice-mayor, José Santana Zamora.
The new mayoress feels grateful to the people of Santa Cruz, who supported her and is also committed to the trust received through their votes.
María Rosa López is Santa Cruz new Vice-mayoress. She was elected in the same ballot of current mayor Jorge Chavarría Carrillo from whom, after assuming office, she grew apart. According to López, she was being relegated in her tasks by demanding greater management effectiveness to headship municipal departments.
A retired educator for years, López won an election where she tackled criticisms that have driven her to Constitutional Court and other instances. They have not been solved yet.
López dealt with internal issues within her party. Although she had achieved the majority in a cantonal assembly that ratified her as the PLN candidate, the party´s National Assembly did not approve her candidature.
Among the criticisms López faced as vice-mayoress, there is the requirement posed by the municipality for her to refund colones 70 638 809.41: the payment received for the incentive prohibition, a benefit laid down by the law against corruption and illicit enrichment in public function, which states that professionals that perform paid work for a public department must not serve out of it. The financial incentive, that represented the 65% of her salary, was discontinued in May 2015, because it was considered that teaching is not a liberal profession acknowledged for it.
The Municipality still charges this amount to López, who said that a judge will determine if she has to refund some, and that the benefit was authorized by Santa Cruz proper mayor, Jorge Enrique Chavarría.
Besides, López was criticized because, for four years and nine months, she received her salary as vice-mayoress and her pension income as a former educator. The municipality asked her to withdraw her salary or her income because, according to the municipal corporation, she must not receive both.
López adduced she is backed by an application for amparo that states that she can work being a retiree and receive her salary as vice-mayoress and also her pension income.
“This is a persecution against me. What I was paid is consistent with my work for Santa Cruz”, said the newly-elected mayoress. “People supported me and many thought they would inflict me harm. People said the contrary”, she highlighted.
The elected majoress talked to The Tamarindo News and explained that her main working plans are road and community works, water problems, municipal services and accountability improvements by offering enhanced access to information from technological platforms and a municipal building construction as well as a service office in Tamarindo.
In this edition we publish The Tamarindo News´ interview with the new majoress of Santa Cruz, where she tells us about her work agenda for the canton, her government plan and some more about the person who will take office next May1st.
Elections in numbers
Number of registered voters: 39 274
Results in Santa Cruz for majors and vice-majors elections (See picture)
Who won the municipalities in other cantons in Guanacaste?
On February 7th, municipal elections in Guanacaste presented some unprecedented particularities. For example, in the canton of Nandayure, there was a tied vote between candidates of Partido Liberación Nacional, Luis Diego Campos Vargas and of Partido Nueva Generación, Giovanni Jiménez Gómez, who was declared elected for being the older, as stablished in article 202 of the Electoral Code.
Besides, just as in Santa Cruz, there were very tight results in some elections: the number of the first candidates in dispute was of few votes of difference. In Liberia, Julio Viales of PLN was ahead Partido Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión (PASE) candidate, Luis Gerardo Castañeda, current Liberia mayor, for only 147 votes.
In Nicoya and Carrillo cantons, actual mayors, Marco Antonio Jiménez and Carlos Cantillo respectively, were reelected with a wide margin of votes.
Those elected by Costa Ricans will take office from May 1st, 2016 to April 30th, 2020.
Election declaratories of Puntarenas´mayors and other positions disputed in municipal polls (councilors, administrators, mayors and intendants) will also be published in TSE website as issued (www.tse.go.cr)