Despite his dubious past at the World Bank, Rodrigo Chaves has been sworn in as the new President of Costa Rica during a ceremony at the Legislative Assembly, which was attended by Spain's King Felipe VI among other dignitaries.
It is time to leave behind the old practices that the Costa Rican people rightly charge us with so much. Here there is no distinction between the ruling party and the opposition. If once again the political class fails, the country could fall apart, said Chaves as he replaced Carlos Alvarado Quesada.
Other countries represented at the ceremony by their heads of state were Colombia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Kosovo, and Morocco.
Chaves became the 49th president in the history of Costa Rica, after winning the presidential elections in the runoff against former José María Figueres, of the traditional National Liberation Party. Chaves, of the conservative Social Democratic Progress party, had served for six months as Minister of Finance under Alvarado.
Chaves has a record of sexual misconduct while he was working at the World Bank. That did not keep him from running and even winning the elections.
In his opening speech Sunday, he promised to fight harassment and violence against women and announced that the achievements in human rights, such as those of the LGBT population, will be respected.
The new President also said the two biggest challenges ahead for his administration were poverty and unemployment. The moment we are living is crucial. We are the ones called to make a historic change. That call is imposed with the strength of the voice of the people who demanded from the ballot box an enormous obligation to the entire political class of the country, which includes the three powers of the Republic, said Chaves.
In the April 3 runoff, Chavez won by 52.9% of the votes over former President José María Figueres. The allegations of improper conduct that he received from two subordinates when he was working in the multilateral organization did not affect his campaign.
According to AFP, Chaves was sanctioned by the World Bank in October 2019 with a demotion to a position with no dependents and the impossibility of a salary increase for three years. He resigned approximately one month later. He argued that his attitudes were misconstrued jokes amid cultural differences.
I deeply regret the actions that occurred more than 15 years ago that affected former colleagues of mine at the World Bank in such a way that they felt the need to file a harassment complaint against me. Although the complaints were underestimated after due process in three very rigorous instances, I once again offer my sincere apologies to those colleagues without reservation. I have reflected deeply, learned a lot, and understood better, he said in a video released in recent weeks.