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Costa Rica: presidential penalty

Monday, July 28, 2014

The president of Costa Rica could lose a key member of his cabinet, less than 90 days after taking office.

Luis Guillermo Solís’ chief of staff must resign, because he is a Lutheran pastor, says the country’s chief legal officer.

No active member of a religious organization can be a cabinet minister, according to an interpretation of the Costa Rican constitution.

The loss of Melvin Jimenez would be a blow to the new government.

The chief of staff coordinates the work of the cabinet, acts as a liaison between the executive and the legislature, and is the president’s public spokesperson.

Jimenez’ exit would come after the departure – by resignation or dismissal – of no fewer than ten cabinet members in the four-year term of the previous administration.

Costa Rica’s constitutional court is studying the case.