Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters

Costa Rica president ends ‘worship’ of his office

He signs a decree barring his name from being put on plaques at public works

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, a month into his first term in office, doesn't want his name on plaques at public works or his portrait hung in public offices.

In a decree, Solis prohibited his name from being used on plaques inaugurating bridges, roads and buildings, as was the custom in previous administrations. From now on, plaques will carry only the year the project was inaugurated, according to the BBC.

"The works are from the country and not from a government or a particular official," Solis told reporters after the decree was signed during a meeting with the governing council.

He also barred his portrait from being hung in Costa Rican government buildings, a practice common in many countries.

"The worship of the image of the president is over, at least under my government," he said Wednesday when signing the decree.

Solis emerged unexpectedly from the presidential race, running on a platform promising transparency and to eliminate superfluous spending. A center-left academic who had never been elected to office before becoming president, Solis, a member of the Citizen Action Party, rode a wave of anti-government sentiment over rising inequality and corruption scandals to finish ahead in a first round of voting in February, surprising pollsters who had placed him fourth.

He went on to win a runoff election in April — the first third-party candidate in more than half a century to win the top post in Costa Rica.

"We want to recover that sense of solidarity, of social inclusion and commitment to the neediest Costa Ricans that has been lost," he said in April before the vote.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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