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Thursday 01 November 2012 | QNews Costa Rica

Former president José María Figueres announced on Wednesday that he will not seek the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) nomination, taking himself out of the 2014 presidential race.

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The announcement ended almost a year’s speculation of will or won’t he, paving the way for other presidential hopefuls like Rodrigo Arias and Johnny Araya, the frontrunners in the March PLN convention.

Figueres returned to Costa Rica last December from a seven year self-exile in Europe, waiting out the scandal over a US$900.000 payment by the French telecommunications company, Alcatel.

Once in Costa Rica Figueres spoke about creating a national project, with initiatives to move Costa Rica forward. This fueled speculation that he would be running for president in 2014, which were never denied nor confirmed during the past ten months.

On Wednesday the former president said “I will be devoting all my energy and experience to work in a multi-project for the construction of the future of the country”. The project is called Vía costarricense (Costa Rican way).

Figueres added, “I think I can do more for the country without being the head of government”.

Reactions, however, were different.

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Many say that Figueres is astute enough to realize he does not have the support to win a presidential election. Some groups cheered the Figueres decision to stay in the sidelines, while some feel it a loss for the country.

In a recent UNIMER poll, Figueres was in a dead hear with Arias and Araya for the party nomination.

Figueres is the son of José Figueres Ferrer (affectionately known as don Pepe), who was a three-time president of Costa Rica (1948–1949, 1953–1958, and 1970–1974), who abolished the country’s army, nationalized its banking sector, and granted women and blacks the right to vote..

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