San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Businessman and environmentalist to accompany Chinchilla on presidential ticket

Costa Rica´s presidential frontrunner Laura Chinchilla named her vice-presidential running mates Monday, in front of an audience of green-shirted National Liberation Party members.

Listing the economy and the environment as central issues to her presidency, she appointed scientist Alfio Piva and businessman Luis Liberman as her second-in-commands.

Piva, an intellectual and environmentalist, currently serves as the executive director of the famed INBio Park and as professor emeritus of National University, both in Heredia, north of San José.

Liberman, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the United States´ University of Illinois, served as director of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and founder of the International Finance Corporation (now owned by Scotia Bank).

The only campaign themes not represented in her vice presidential choices is security, a field to which Chinchilla herself brings some expertise.

The former public security minister, who will be traveling to the United States this week to study public safety issues, said “the most important (challenge) is to achieve a safe society. No issue is closer to my heart…. No issue has found me in more hours of reflection…. We need to recuperate safety in each town and in each city.”

In her vice-presidential announcement before a national assembly of her party at the old town of the National Amusement Park, Chinchilla took the opportunity to take swings at the other presidential candidates.

Of Citizen Action Party candidate Ottón Solís, Chinchilla said he is looking to “put the motor in reverse” and of Libertarian Movement candidate Otto Guevara, she said he would construct a society “based on the individual Costa Rica … that does not value solidarity.”

“In front of these two options, there is only one for Costa Rica,” she said, positioning her party – the National Libertarian Party – as the most-balanced, most centralized party, and best choice for the country.

Costa Rica will go to the polls on Feb. 7.

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