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Women Have Disappeared From Presidential Ballots

Power within the parties are in the control of men (...) the power structure prevents the development of female leadership, says the only woman vying for party nomination

Laura Chinchilla Miranda is the first woman to be elected president of Costa Rica and only one of four women ever to run for the Presidency in the history of the country.

Q COSTA RICA – Costa Rica has had its woman president. Is that enough? It may appear so given that women are moving further away from the fight for the Presidency.

In a report by La Nacion, only one woman is in the race for the Presidential elections on February 4, 2018 President elections, Movimiento Libertario (ML) legislator Natalia Diaz.

Diaz, if she continues with her plans, will be challening ML perennial presidential candidate, Otto Guevara, in the July 16 party election for a candidate in 2018.

Meanwhile, at the other major parties, who have all closed their registration deadline for candidates, the field of candidates is all men.

For example, the Partito Liberacion Nacional (PLN), that has already chosen their man, Antonio Alaverz Desanti won out over Rolando González, Sigifredo Aiza, José María Figueres .



At the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), Rodolfo Piza and Rafael Ortiz are the only two candidates vying for the Presidential nomination.

And the same male only line up is also with the Frente Amplio (FA) and Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC).

The FA candidates are Francisco Camacho and Edgardo Araya. At the PAC, former ministers, Carlos Alvarado and Welmer Ramos want to lead the party into the next election to take over from incumbent Luis Guillermo Solis.

Epsy Campbell was about to confirm her third try for the PAC nomination (she ran for 2010 and 2014), but eventually gave up.

The same is happening at the non-mainstream parties, women just are not interested in running for the Presidency.

The first time a woman wanted to be President was in 1994, when Norma Vargas won the support of the Partido Unión Generaleña.

In 1998, Vargas was again on the ballot, this time Presidential candidate for the Pueblo Unido.

Her attempts opened the door for other women to follow.

In 1998, Marina Volio ran for President for the Rescate Nacional and Yolanda Gutierrez for the Partido Independiente.

But, it would 12 years before a woman would become president.

In 2010, two women disputed the Presidency: Mayra Gonzalez for the Renovación Costarricense and Laura Chinchilla for the PLN.

Chinchilla would become the first woman elected President.

If no woman runs (or nominated by a party) for the 2018 elections, it would mean two consecutive terms without women in the race for the Presidency.

What is the reason for the absence of women in the highest office in the land?

Maureen Clarke, head of the PLN party legislative bloc, said the main reason is that women in Costa Rica have not empowered themselves by their political rights. “It is not a matter of quotas, rather it requires a change in mentality, both of women and men, and we are not there yet,” said the legislator.

Diaz, in her opinion, considers it a question of social and political structures. “Power within the (political) parties are in the control of men (…),” said Diaz, in explaining that the power structure prevents the development of female leadership.

At the PUSC, party president Pedro Muñoz, said that he does not know why in his party there are no women presidential candidates. “Women, in large part, were the ones who sustained the PUSC in its worst moments. At all levels they never left the party,” said Muñoz.


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