Thursday 5 August 2021

Oscar Arias: I am very clear that a third defeat for the PLN implies burying the party

The two-time former president advocates uniting the PLN by promoting a consensus candidate and without holding an internal convention.

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QCOSTARICA – Searching for a consensus candidate in the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) for the 2022 presidential elections, is the intention of two-time former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Óscar Arias Sánchez, who met with former presidents José María Figueres and Laura Chinchilla, so that the three can propose a candidate.

Óscar Arias Sánchez

“Given the complex situation of the country, the PLN should bring a candidate to the presidency capable of convening a broad national alliance to face the crisis and who has accumulated experience in the complex political arena, deep knowledge of the national reality and conditions, emotional and personal ethics that allow him to make all the necessary decisions, no matter how difficult and controversial they may be,” Chinchilla highlighted.

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In addition, she said that any initiative proposed around a consensus candidate should be the result of a broad convergence of forces and sectors within the party and not of a unilateral or union imposition.

On February 7, the former president had said that, within the party, there are those who raise the possibility of a consensus candidate with good intentions, either to prevent an internal election from further fracturing the party, or due to the situation of health and economic crisis.

Laura Chinchilla

Both Arias (1986-1990 and 2006-2010) and Chinchilla (2010-2014) ruled out running in 2022.

Arias, in his talks with former president Figueres (1994-1998), raised the possibility of Figueres giving up his candidacy for the PLN nomination.

“One of the former presidents, Don José María Figueres, is precisely a candidate, and what I tell him is that the numbers do not give him to win an election. Polls show that Liberación is a much smaller party than it was in the past. In the past, we had about 40%* (of the popular vote) and we always dreamed that we could reach that 40% to win an election in the first round; a couple of decades ago it was unthinkable to think of a second round in Costa Rica, today it is the norm,” said the former president.

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“They are just good intentions. I have no interest in closing the doors to anyone, what I would like is that Liberación does not end with a third defeat and I am very clear that a third defeat for Liberación implies burying the party,” said Arias.

“The rank and file of the party would see with great joy that the three former Liberación presidents, who always disagree with some things, are able to agree on something like avoiding spending millions of colones and dollars and, on the other hand, endangering the lives of many,” he added.

Jose Maria Figueres Olsen

The meetings were held through the Zoom platform and Arias spoke at least twice with Figueres -who is in Switzerland – and Chinchilla also participated in one of them.

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Figueres, the son of José Figueres Ferrer (affectionately known as Don Pepe), who was a three-time President of Costa Rica, has not publicly responded to the statements by Arias and Chinchilla.

*In Costa Rica, presidential elections must be won not only by the most votes, but the winning candidate has to have more than 40% of the popular vote, failing which the top two candidates head for a run-off election.

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