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Costa Rica's new president promises transparency, urges people to offer him advice

Luis Guillermo Solis took the oath of office as Costa Rica's new president Thursday, vowing to govern with transparency and be open to feedback from all sectors of the country.

Solis said during a speech in a soccer stadium packed with about 20,000 people that he will be always open to hearing the advice of people.

"When I make a mistake, correct me," he said. "When I waver, give me strength."

The 56-year-old president said that during his four-year term he will be attentive to all views expressed in what he called "a new citizens' democracy."

He promised to focus on building up small- and medium-size local businesses while strengthening social and environmental programs, to fight tax evasion and to control a deficit of more than $2.5 billion in a country long considered the most stable in Central America

Solis, a member of the center-leftist Citizen Action Party, defeated the long-governing National Liberation Party, which was weighed down by corruption allegations and discontent over high unemployment during President Laura Chinchilla's government.