Nosara, Nicoya

Plebiscite On Nosara’s Autonomy Will Happen Despite Appeals

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The plebiscite that will determine whether or not Nosara gains autonomy from the City of Nicoya will be held on June 3 despite appeals filed by opponents before the Supreme Elections Court (TSE) and the Nicoya City Council.

On one hand, the TSE denied an appeal that sought to halt the plebiscite.  

On the other, the council rejected a motion presented by the opposition to annul the accord from last November that called for the vote on whether or not to create the Municipal District Council of Nosara.

There is no condition that would allow for cancelling the referendum, much less 15 days away from holding the vote,” the TSE’s general secretary for voting registry, Gerardo Abarca, told the Voice of Guanacaste.

The TSE is already printing the ballots in order to deliver them in the coming days, Abarca said.

Why do they want to cancel it?

Attorney Otto Castillo, from the “no” camp, filed an appeal before the TSE. In the document, Castillo alleges irregularities.

According to his version, there is no record of a formal request for holding the plebiscite, nor an economic study of how it will affect the City of Nicoya nor has the city council disseminated information about the plebiscite.

The resolution states that the claims presented in the appeal are the responsibility of Nicoya City Hall, not the TSE.

The council also rejected a motion filed by attorney Edwin Castillo (Otto Castillo’s brother) on May 14 in an ordinary session. His arguments were the same as his brothers’ and his objective was to annul accord number 021-2017 from November 2017, which called for the vote.

While they will not cancel the plebiscite, the committee on legal matters decided to separate those who support Nosara’s independence from the organization process. Johnny Gutiérrez, Marcos Ávila,  Bonifacio Díaz and Martín Chacón will no longer be part of the organizing committee.

This isn’t the first time that the “no” camp has tried to stop the plebiscite from happening. On Wednesday, May 9 in a meeting organized by the city, representatives from the opposition argued so much that the organization cancelled the meeting before both sides could present their ideas.

These kinds of spaces are important for people to respectfully inform themselves,” said the secretary general of voting registry, Gerardo Abarca, regarding the need to develop spaces where ideas can be discussed.

What does the TSE do in this process?

The TSE has three specific functions in the plebiscite process, according to Abarca.

The first is advising the city council on how to hold a referendum. The second is overseeing the process to ensure it takes place normally. And, finally, the TSE magistrates have the authority to resolve any conflict that may arise, such as in the case of the appeals.

Convening, organizing and disseminating information about the referendum is the responsibility of the city council through a special plebiscite committee and with the backing of the city. The TSE only accompanies the process.