Women Play Increased Role On Electoral Tickets

October 21, 2005

• Popular legislator Epsy Campbell has been named the first vice-presidential candidate for the Citizen Action Party (PAC), joining presidential candidate Ottón Solís. Campbell accepted the nomination over the weekend, only after it was agreed that exporter Marita González will round out the ticket as the second vice-presidential candidate. Solís said the choices will guarantee administrative efficiency and open dialogue with the country’s civil, economic and political sectors. Public opinion polls regularly name Campbell one of the most popular politicians. González is on the board of directors of the Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters (CADEXCO).• Despite her post and her family’s tuber-exporting business, González said she, like the rest of PAC, does not support the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) as it is written. González, a former teacher, told the daily La Nación that although her business would benefit from CAFTA, she believes it should be renegotiated. • Libertarian Movement Party presidential candidate Otto Guevara has announced he will not run a double campaign for the Legislative Assembly and Casa Presidencial. Guevara told La Nación that running for legislator while running for President, possible under Costa Rican law, gives the idea that the party does not expect to win the presidency, which he feels it can. • Joining Guevara in the campaign as first and second vice-presidential candidates are Rogelio Pardo, former minister of both Public Health and Science and Technology, and Ana Gabriela Alfaro, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels. The team represents a combination of experience and new blood, Guevara said. Pardo only recently joined the Libertarian Movement after leaving the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). He is part of a recent wave of Libertarian members to come from Unity, which, along with the National Liberation Party, made up the country’s two-party system for decades.• Independent legislator Gloria Valerín and former PAC treasurer Emilia Molina will round out the Patriotic Union Party ticket as the first and second vice-presidents, respectively, joining presidential candidate Humberto Arce. Valerín resigned from the Unity party last month, saying she was disappointed with the leadership of President Abel Pacheco (PUSC). She had also been at odds with party members, who said her verbal aggression and shouts are disrespectful (TT, Sept. 23, July 5).• The Costa Rican daily newspapers are drawing attention to the presence of women on electoral tickets, with headlines featuring more than a hint of traditional gender roles. The daily Al Día headlined their article, “Zapote with the Scent of a Woman” – Zapote is the eastern San José suburb where Casa Presidencial is located – with a secondary headline about Liberation vice-presidential candidate Laura Chinchilla that read, “I Hate to Iron and Wash.” During interviews with Chinchilla, Campbell and Unity vice-presidential candidate Lilliana Salas, all three were asked if they cook, clean and iron. Meanwhile, a headline in La Nación read, “Five Female Legislators Flirting with Vice-Presidency of the Republic.”

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