Right at the start of his state-of-the-nation address President Solís called for “renewed cross-party dialogue...to strengthen and modernise our democracy”. It was a theme he returned to again and again. “We’re leaving behind democratic adolescence and moving towards a mature, full and productive democracy”, he argued. “We’re advancing from formal democracy to real democracy”. This, however, was less a statement of fact than a statement of hope. It is true that Solís and the PAC broke the political stranglehold of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) and the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) at the executive level this time last year, but at the legislative level they remain firmly hostage to the traditional political parties Solís boldly claimed to have displaced.

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