Costa Rica News – Costa Rica’s National Liberation Party (PLN) is making its elected officials in the Legislative Assembly donate at least 1% of their salary to pay the debts that the Party’s contract accumulated in their last electoral campaign, and to cover their everyday expenditure.
With this regulation, every one of the 104 faithful employees linked with the Party will donate a monthly figure of ¢13,000 from their annual total of ¢1.3 million. Per year, every member will donate ¢156,000 to the PLN.
The measure came into effect the week before last, when each worker was given a card which, one signed, obligates them to make the monthly contribution.
According to the Administrative Director of PLN, Alexandra Valverde, employees are given three options as to how they’d like to make their donation: as an automatic deduction from their salary, a bank deposit, or simply in cash.
“Article 54 of the Electoral Code authorises us to ask for contributions. In Section E of the document, it states that one of the duties of party members is to contribute economically where possible. Up until now, nobody has refused, but if anybody does not wish to donate, the Executive Committee will be informed”, explained Valverde.
To make the charge obligatory, the Executive Committee itself made a valuation, which was unanimously agreed upon by the Party’s National Assembly on 22nd August 2013.
That day, a motion was approved which reformed PLN’s statute by stating that publically voted liberationists, or those whose names were put forward must contribute a minimum of 1% of their salary.
The reform was promoted by the representative Rolando González, who in 2013 was the manager of presidential candidate, Johnny Araya Monge’s campaign. Araya Monge supported the proposal.
“Contributions for the maintenance of the Party have existed in the past, but they have stopped recently. Now we’re starting them up again. We feel that stopping them was detrimental to the party’s finances, and it affected the spirit of solidarity among members”, González said.
The legislator added that the contribution is also required of those who hold a position in the popular elections.
With regards to those who are listed consultants to liberationist representatives, for example, it is alleged that they “morally” have a commitment to make donations, although they could legally claim that it is a violation of their rights.
“Through solidarity among representatives, we hope that they will contribute. It’s a work in progress, which currently only includes those who were listed after 22nd August 2013. Now we’re working on including representatives and their own collaborators, and then mayors and councillors”, said González, who is a legislator from Alajuela.
Paying debts. To begin with, the measure will allow the PLN to receive ¢24 million per year for the first four years with the contributions from 18 representatives (¢38,000 per month) and their 104 consultants. They will use this money to clear outstanding debts which, in June, totalled ¢203 million.
The Party owes an increase for additional hours worked last November, December and January, before the first round of elections on February 2nd.
Additionally, the PLN has to pay the invoices and bills accumulated by renting services from Racsa and from software for administrating images that they contracted from RICOH.
According to the Party’s treasurer, Alex Sibaja, asking for donations from public employees who are members of the party is one of the systems they’re putting in place to ensure they have more permanent funding.
“The Party doesn’t generate fixed incomes; we rely on donations as a means of not having any liabilities. Our collaborators are assisting us in the search for permanent donators”, asserted Sibaja.
Liberación Nacional’s financial problems lie in Johnny Araya’s electoral defeat. The Party was hoping to win the first round of elections and get at least 40% of the vote. According to data from TSE, however, their final percentage was only 29.7%.
Such a situation means that PLN would only have rights to ¢5260 million, rather than the ¢6000 million they’d hoped for.
PLN charged the Tribunal ¢1,100 million more than the total of the state contribution.
The association presented bills for ¢5,600 million when they only have a right to ¢4,500 million.
Translated by Hazel Diaz from La Nacion