Leiner Vargas (left), head of Johnny Araya's economic team does not share the withdrawal of the campaign and challenges the PAC to hold the debate. In the picture, Rolando Gonzalez (centre) and Marco Cercone, food industry. Photo credit: La Nacion.
Leiner Vargas (left), head of Johnny Araya’s economic team does not share the withdrawal of the campaign and challenges the PAC to hold the debate. In the picture, Rolando Gonzalez (centre) and Marco Cercone, food industry. Photo credit: La Nacion.

Johnny Araya may be done with the presidential elections, the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) presidential candidate withdrawing from the race last Wednesday. But the party is not.

Leiner Vargas, head of the presidential candidate’s economic team, said over the weekend he would continue to campaign despite the leader’s withdrawl. (Can’t call it a resignation, for under Costa Rica law a candidate MAY NOT resign.)


“We have not a candidate, but must soldier on…”, Bernal Jiménez, president of the PLN.

[/one_third]Vargas told La Nacion it is in the name of “honour”, not to win the election, vowing to continue the campaign against the Partico Accion Cuidadan (PAC) and its candidate, Luis Guillermo Solís.

The question floating in political circles (and the common voter), was Araya’s announcement to withdraw a political Trojan horse?

The PLN candidate had announced that starting this morning (Monday) he would be touring the country in a “thank you tour” and at his expense.

Sunday afternoon, however, he told Telenoticias that the tour would be postponed at least one day, to avoid “misunderstandings”.

Another interesting occurrence is the statement by PLN Political Director, Luis Gerardo Villanueva, of the possibility that vice-presidential candidates, Jorge Patonni and Silvia Lara, could resume the campaigning. The morning radio talk show, Nuestra Voz, by Amelia Rueda, said sources confirmed discussion with the VP’s and a proposal could be made at today’s 6pm meeting with Villanueva.

The director did not deny the possibility. Neither Patonni or Lara were available for comment.

Arias Rules Out Intervention
Ruled out is  the participation of former president Oscar Arias (1986-2010 and 2006-2010). The 73 year old former two time president and Nobel Peace Prize winner ruled out his and his brother Rodrigo’s intervention of the party. (Last year, Rodrigo Arias gave up is presidential aspirations, removing his name from the PLN nomination, paving the way of Araya.)

“Not of mind to get involved again”, Arias told La Nacion, when asked if he will intervene to raise the party as he did in 2004, after the defeat of Rolando Araya (brother of Johnny) in the second round of the 2002 elections. In 2004, Arias took a party defeated in a close election that saw PUSC party candidate Abel Pacheco win by a tight margin in the first ever run-off elections since the new demcracy of 1948.

According to Arias, what the party needs now is “new blood”.

Back to Vargas
In the last couple of days, he charged that PAC’s programs would not “take into account the real economic situation and will place in peril the economic and social stability of the country.”

Araya’s economics team includes Gonzalo Ramirez, Marcelo Levendiker, Francisco Villalobos, Rafael Arias, Vinicio Sandi and Jimmy Fernandez. Outside advisers are ex-presidents of Banco Central Eduardo Lizano and  Francisco Paulino  Gutierrez.

Despite his vigorous attack on PAC’s economic platform, Vargas admitted that Liberation has little chance of victory this time around. But former campaign manager Antonio Alvarez (Desanti) denied that any official on the ballot from Liberation would continue on the stump.

“He has every right to argue and participate, shrugged Alvarez about Vargas continuing the search for votes, “but it’s a personal opinion. The candidate has already decided that we’re not in a campaign.” He also said he, as campaign chief, had notified organizers of the debate that Liberation would be absent.

Sources: Amelia Rueda, La Nacion, iNews.co.cr

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