Turning the corner into Costa Rica´s election season, as more campaign banners grace the sides of buildings and car bumpers, political parties are counting the size of their war chests in preparation for a spending spree.
Though the February 2010 presidential election cannot be bought via commercial space on TV channels or noisy perifoneos (car-mounted speakers) in the streets, the final tally is tangentially affected by dollars accumulated, said Gilberto Gómez, accountant for the Supreme Elections Tribunal.
“Those who receive more money tend to get more votes,” said Gómez.
According to the tribunal´s latest numbers, the National Liberation Party (PLN) has a secure lead in the coffers, with three times as much money raised by the runner-up, the Citizen Action Party (PAC).
Laura Chinchilla, former vice president in the administration of President Oscar Arias and considered the president´s handpicked replacement, has the party´s $1.9 million at her disposal.
Ottón Solís, an academic and long-time politician, is next in line with financial backing to the tune of $559,000. Otto Guevara, with the Libertarian Movement, trails with $159,000.
However, the political scene is still evolving and could be vastly different at the time of the next campaign filing at the end of this month.
Adding to the uncertainty of the political landscape are new campaign finance rules that could affect the final vote.
See the Sept. 11 print or digital edition of The Tico Times for more on this story.
Party campaign spending budgets
|National Liberation Party||¢ 1,107,818,008 ($1.9 million)|
|Citizen Action Party||¢ 325,907,622 ($559,000)|
|Libertarian Movement||¢ 92,828,975 ($159,000)|
|Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC)||¢ 33,127,289 ($57,000)|
|Broad Front Party||¢ 30,691,380 ($53,000)|
|Source: Supreme Elections Tribunal, June 2009|