PLN meeting between presidential candidate Johnny Araya and several incoming legislators on March 17, 2014 in La Sabana. | Photo: Jorge Arce, La Nacion
PLN meeting between presidential candidate Johnny Araya and several incoming legislators on March 17, 2014 in La Sabana. | Photo: Jorge Arce, La Nacion

It’s been almost two weeks since that historic day, when for the first time in the history of Costa Rica’s politics a presidential candidate called it quits before an election.

On the Wednesday afternoon of March 5, Johnny Araya, the presidential candidate for the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) stunned everyone with his decision to withdraw from the presidential race.

But, did we hear him right? It appears not.

During a meeting with future Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) legislators, the same he appointed in August 2013, Araya, with a serious tone, Araya said he never gave up the presidential nomination and if the popular vote is his favour on April 6, he will assume the presidency.

“I will respect the popular will. No need to interpret what I said, in the sense that I never renounced my candidacy”, Araya said last night from the PLN party headquarters, El Balcón Verde (The Green Balcony) in La Sabana.

The following are highlights of the interview Johnny Araya gave to Aarón Sequeira of La Nacion.

The presidential candidate that is, is not, is again, not really, said he spends is time meeting with people who visit him, answering emails and phone calls.

“I totally agree with the call of the party for people to vote. The electoral process is not over, it will end on April 6.

“When I made the decision, in my heart, it was call for a national agreement. Unfortunately, I think the PAC (Partido Accion Cuidadana) has not heeded to the call and reacted defensively against my sincerity. There is contempt for my proposal.

Asked if he regrets his decision, Araya answered, “No, no, no. It is a very difficult, complex, tough decision”.

“I will respect the popular will, of course. I am out of the (political) campaign, it was not a pause. Since March 5, I made it clear that it was not a waiver of my candidacy and we’ll see the end result of the process, that is not over just yet.

“It is logical that many (in the party) are in disagreement. People will understand the dimension of this scenario that requires the party and others to rethink the future of the country.

“The leadership (of the party) is not defined by decree or decision of a body, it has to be earned. I am the candidate for the Partido Liberacion Nacional until April 6, under conditions that are clearly established by the decision I made. The party has recognized my leadership, which, I assume.

Looking ahead past the election, Araya was asked what he would (if not elected). “I have several options, in tourism, but will continue in politics”.

Will you seek the mayorship of San José in 2016?

“No, no. I’m not thinking about that.


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