San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Leftist Party Leader Back, but Will He Run?

Ottón Solís, a likely 2010 presidential candidate, celebrated his return to Costa Rica and to politics yesterday after teaching in Florida for five months.

In a spirited gathering at the CitizenAction Party’s (PAC) headquarters in San José, Solís railed against the government for failing to address crime, environmental degradation, public health and education.

He also criticized the government for rolling out a “red carpet” for foreign investors, while neglecting Tico farmers.

Solís and his party are best known for their vehement opposition to and filibustering of legislation required to implement the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), even after voters approved the pact in a national referendum in October.

A recent CID-Gallup poll found just 7 percent of Costa Ricans support the party, down from 16 percent two years ago.

Solís, who ran for president in 2006 and lost by little more than 1 percent to Oscar Arias, has not fared well since. Some 43 percent of Costa Ricans have an “unfavorable” opinion of him, compared to 37 percent who see him favorably.

Solís’ candidacy for president appears imminent, especially now that PAC President Epsy Campbell has recently declared she will not run for president in 2010, leaving Solís without a clear rival for his party’s nomination.

At Monday’s celebration, PAC adviser Katia Martín introduced Solís, saying, “Our leader and the future president of Costa Rica is back.”


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