In Costa Rica, Presidential Elections are much more about personal power, than who is best to govern the Country as the President. The surprise showing by the PAC’s (Citizen Action Party) candidate for President, Guillermo Solis, apparently arose from a mass vote exodus of PLN (National Liberation Party) members who support the Arias Brothers and who, as rebels, voted for Mr. Solis, the PAC Candidate and not Johnny Araya, the PLN Candidate, for President.
This movement of votes away from the PLN Candidate was based on a long-standing personal power struggle between the two camps (Arias and Araya) within the PLN. Although, there may be additional considerations such as the current President, Lady “I’ve done nothing but embarrass the Country and myself for the past four years” Laura, being from the PLN herself, I believe that the single main reason for this surprise First Round outcome is the personal power struggle between the Arias Brothers and Johnny Araya. The welfare of the Country and who would best govern as President, is obviously a distant second place consideration by these “rebel” voters.
The net result of the First Round Presidential Election, leaves the Country in serious jeopardy of facing an economic downturn in the next four years should Mr. Solis prevail in the Second Round. Guillermo Solis’ predecessor as head of PAC, Otton Solis (apparently no family connection) has stated the PAC Platform, which is decidedly left-wing, to be anti Free Trade Agreements with other countries and generally the promotion of protectionist policies, which would be contrary to advancing Costa Rica’s participation in the Global Economy. The PAC philosophy also promotes a considerable increase in corporation taxes, which, in all likelihood, will drive larger corporations from Costa Rica, taking higher paying jobs with them, and depleting the existing tax base, jeopardizing various social programs currently being offered by the Government.
In my view, in-spite of the political short-comings that the PLN and Mr. Araya have exhibited, Johnny Araya would still be the best choice for President, given the two choices remaining. The PLN is a more centrist party, supportive of a global economics with a less protectionist platform, and a proposed fairer, less onerous corporate tax structure. In order to prevail in the Second Round, I am of the opinion that a coalition in the General Assembly of PLN, PUSC, and Libertario Members will be necessary, along with a concerted effort to stimulate at least a portion of the abstentionist vote (38% in First Round) in favour of Mr. Araya.