Thursday 23 September 2021

OP-ED: And Here We Go One More Time!

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The PAC's Luis Guillermo Solís (left) and PLN's Johnny Araya.
The PAC’s Luis Guillermo Solís (left) and PLN’s Johnny Araya.

Having thirteen candidates running for the same office is pure Costa Rica in that we seem to have complicated, duplicated and made being effective almost impossible.

“Yes,” the February vote depicts a deep rooted democracy and should be praised, however it was expensive, resulted in yet another election and predictably an unmanageable government.

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We are down to only two candidates this time around and that makes far more sense. The problem will be managing the National Assembly and its 57 deputies of which the winner of the April 6, 2014 election may not hold a majority of those seats.

While watching and reading the meteoric rise in popularity of Solis, it comes as no great surprise he came in second.

The surprise is the lack of voter support given to far left wing Villalta and those young people who sat out the election. Actually, 30% plus eligible voters sat out the 13 man brouhaha.

The odds are that Solis will win over Araya as don Johnny cannot shake off his long time membership in the Liberación party which has lost much of its support, even within its own ranks. While being at arm’s length from the reigning president, Laura Chinchilla, Araya cannot shake the image or the baggage of corruption, ineptitude, neoliberalism and in ability to make timely, key decisions.

In the event Solis should be elected in the April runoff, his party, PAC, will only have between 12 and13 seats in the National Assembly. This is hardly enough to force much needed legislation. Johnny Araya, on the other hand, may very well lose the runoff, however his party, Liberación, could end up winning 18-20 seats in the 57 person Assembly which is sufficient enough to make a serious dent in Solis’ programs.

Moreover, the ignored Jose Maria Villalta’s party (Frente Amplio) should win 10-12 seats and his far left leaning is very much in conflict with the Liberaciónistas. In fact, Villalta said, during his swan song speech that he is not sure who to vote for (April runoff) but he would not vote for the Liberación. Well, there is only one other candidate, Solis of PAC.Or perhaps like many others, he will sit this one out.

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In the National Assembly we can easily see a coalition which would push Solis further to the left as he will need the votes of Frente Amplio to move legislation forward. The bad news is Costa Rica must reign in government size as well as spending and a PAC/Amplio coalition would find that difficult to accomplish as they both pursue promised social reforms rather than practice hardcore economics. And, it is practical economics that is critical to our national well being and will reduce Costa Rica’s runaway inequality.

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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