Citizen group wants referendum on drafting a new Constitution

first_imgThe group “Nueva Constitución CR” (New Costa Rican Constitution) submitted a request Monday to the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) to collect signatures across the country to hold a public referendum on drafting a new Constitution.The group includes college professors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, citizen activists, writers, lawmakers and politicians from various parties. Among them is former President Luis Alberto Monge Álvarez, the last surviving member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted and approved Costa Rica’s current Constitution in 1949.Monge, who presided over the country from 1982 to 1986, was recently released from the hospital after recovering from a respiratory arrest.Former Comptroller General Alex Solís Fallas drafted the proposal presented Monday to TSE President Luis Antonio Sobrado. Solís said the initiative seeks to overcome “Costa Rica’s current crisis of governability in a peaceful, inclusive and democratic manner.”He said the plan does not represent the interests of any political party, though several current and former politicians are involved, and that it aims to improve the quality of life of all Costa Ricans and make public administration more efficient.Proposal for forming Constituent AssemblyThe proposal delivered Monday requests TSE’s authorization to begin collecting at least 160,000 signatures — the required 5 percent of registered voters — in order to hold a referendum.If approved, citizens would vote “Yes” or “No” to hold a national election for appointing 61 citizens to a Constituent Assembly for drafting and passing a new Constitution.The election would be open to members of political parties registered with the TSE, along with members of workers’ unions, cooperatives, environmental groups, business chambers and professional associations.Under the proposal, any citizen who is not part of one of these groups could also run as long as he or she can got the support of at least 20,000 registered voters.If enough voters sign the petition, the election would take place the first Sunday of July 2019. Elected members of the Constituent Assembly would take office in November that same year and would have 20 months to draft and approve a new Constitution.If the plan gets that far, the new Constitution would enter into force on Sept. 15, 2021 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Central American nations’ declaration of independence from Spain.Solís said he believes a new Constitution is urgently needed because the country has become stagnant.“The last time our country saw a major achievement was the construction of the National Stadium, and it was a gift from the Chinese, and built entirely by them,” he said Monday.Solís told attendees at the TSE presentation that all candidates aspiring to a seat at the Constituent Assembly must promise the Costa Rican people to not eliminate or diminish rights established in the current Constitution, “especially those of social content or associated with private property,” he said.Nueva Constitución CR leaders believe a new Constitution should preserve current citizens’ rights and add new chapters, among others, related to civic responsibilities. They also believe it should add provisions to ensure greater protection of natural resources and should declare the state secular (Catholicism is the official state religion under the current Constitution).The proponents also want to decentralize the government’s power with the aim of improving its administrative structure and management of public affairs.History of Costa Rica’s ConstitutionsMembers of the Nueva Constitución CR group believe the 1949 Constitution is outdated and doesn’t represent the country’s current reality.Costa Rica drafted its first legislation as an independent republic in 1821. Presidents and lawmakers later amended and added new laws that resulted in the country’s first Constitution in 1871.After President Rafael Calderón Guardia was overthrown during the 1948 Civil War and a governing board headed by José Figueres Ferrer took office on May 8, 1948, Figueres immediately restored some chapters of the 1871 Constitution.On Sept. 3, 1948, the governing board convened elections for a Constituent Assembly that appointed a group of lawmakers to draft a new Constitution.On Nov. 7 1949 the Assembly adopted the new Constitution, which is still in force.Members of the Nueva Constitución CR describe the 1949 Constitution as a polished version of the one approved in 1871, and therefore long outdated.“Instead of fixing the situation, we’ve been amending and creating new rules. As a result, to live and develop in our country has become very difficult,” the group stated in its principles.But the 1949 Constitution also includes some of the country’s most celebrated characteristics, like the abolition of the army.It lays out individual, social and political rights and duties, the separation of powers of the government’s three branches, and the structure of public agencies.According to Legislative Assembly records, the 1949 Constitution has been amended 62 times since its approval. Currently, there are over 40 bills pending approval aimed at amending the wording of 61 articles of the Constitution. Facebook Comments Related posts:Ten new parties register for the 2018 election Lawmakers approve Social Security loan, highway fund during extraordinary period Supreme Court rules prison sentences in animal welfare bill unconstitutional Brazil faux pas sparks heated debate in Legislative Assemblylast_img read more

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Find faith this Festive Season with Collette

first_imgFind faith this Festive Season with ColletteFind faith this Festive Season with ColletteCollette has announced its new Faith brochure which offers inquisitive travellers the chance to visit and explore some of the world’s most iconic spiritual sites and destinations. With eight itineraries departing in 2017 and 2018, the Faith brochure provides ideal escapes for clients wanting to learn about and absorb the rich history, religion and culture of these symbolic places.“Collette is a family-owned business so the festive season is all about coming together with loved ones and embracing traditions. Our Faith tours provide guests access to sites that are revered by millions with local guides providing expert knowledge. Celebrating spirituality and devoutness is such a big part of cultures all over the world, so we are pleased to be able to offer experiences that capture this,” said Alison Mead, Australian Business Manager, Collette.One of the highlights of the Faith brochure is that five of the tours include scheduled Catholic Masses. Shrines of Italy, Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Patrick’s Ireland, Pilgrimage to Poland and Pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes. On the Shrines of Italy tour, visitors will attend a Papal Ceremony at the Vatican City and receive a blessing from Pope Francis, while the 8-day Israel – Pilgrimage to the Holy Land features several services including at the Church of Nativity, Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – the site of Christ’s crucifixion.A second exploration of Israel is possible with Collette’s Israel – A Journey of Faith tour which  includes a visit to Tel Migiddo, the sacred site of the Last Supper and picturesque Mount Zion, just outside the walls of the Old City.Pilgrimage to Poland offers 8 days for travellers to discover the moving history of Warsaw, marvel at magnificent monasteries in Czestochowa and Krakow and embark on a poignant journey to Auschwitz with a guided tour through a former concentration camp. Here they will not only learn about the horrors that occurred within these walls but also about the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit.The brochure also features the 10-day tour Greece: In the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle, which will awaken the spirit and the senses. With the breathtaking blue-white of Santorini, this tour also features a 3-day cruise through the idyllic Greek Islands, an excursion to the Turkish port of Kusadasi to see the ruins of Ephesus (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and a visit to Thessaloniki, an early centre for Christianity founded in 315 B.C.For those wanting to visit central Portugal, Collette’s Pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes with Barcelona is ideal, with 2017 marking the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima Apparitions. Making their way through beautiful Portugal, France and Spain, pilgrims on this journey will worship the most revered basilicas of Fatima and Lourdes, visit the Shrine of the Most Holy Miracle in Santarem, view the site of the fifth apparition in Valinhos and enjoy a walking tour of Lourdes.On the Trail of Martin Luther takes travellers through Germany where they can discover the history of the Reformation. Starting in Worms and ending in Berlin, highlights of this tour include an excursion to the Gutenberg Museum to see the famed Gutenberg Bible and a visit to Wittenberg’s St Mary’s Church, where Luther preached and was married.For travellers wanting to trace the roots of their faith or ancestry in Ireland, Collette’s 9-day St Patrick’s Ireland tour is divine. Making their way through the lush, green countryside of the ‘emerald isle’, guests will experience Mass at the Marian Shrine of Knock, reflect at the Tobernalt Holy Well and visit the famous Downpatrick Cathedral – the burial place of St Patrick. A privately guided tour of St Patrick’s first church in Ireland at Saul is another highlight of this Pilgrim’s Path.With Christmas and the festive season just around the corner, what better time to start planning a trip to immerse yourself in faith.For more information on Collette’s tours and to view the full faith brochure click HEREFor details of the full tours or to book a trip:Contact your local travel agentCall Collette on 1300 792 195 or visit www.gocollette.com Private Chauffeur ServiceCollette’s private chauffeur service is included on all Collette tours for customers within a 40km drive of an Australian international airport. as are tips for the land portion of each tour. For more information visit gocollette.com/chauffeurAbout ColletteEstablished in 1918, Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette’s recently- opened Sydney office adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London.On offer is an extensive collection of four-star escorted tours, river and ocean cruises, rail journeys, small group tours, family tours and garden holidays. Renowned for connecting guests with cultural experiences which go far beyond those of an ordinary holiday, Collette prides itself on providing real value to its guests and agent partners. Knowledgeable tour managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan and inclusive touring are just part of the top-quality Collette experience. Just sit back, relax and be guided on your Collette adventure!Source = Collettelast_img read more

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