Snapshots of the Presidential Candidates

November 13, 2009

With three months to go on the campaign trail, former vice president Laura Chinchilla, of the National Liberation Party (PLN) continues to maintain an overwhelming lead.

A CID Gallup poll released last week showed her with 44 percent of the vote. The two runners-up continue neck-in-neck with Ottón Solís, of the left-leaning Political Action Party (PAC), receiving 18 percent of the vote and Libertarian candidate Otto Guevara receiving 15.7 percent. A Demoscopía study the week before showed Guevara ahead of Solís by three percentage points.

Even with Chinchilla’s sizable lead, there are no promises that she’ll be the next to occupy the Casa Presidencial, said Carlos Denton, co-founder and president of the market research firm CID Gallup.

“It’s too early to say Laura will win,” he said, explaining, that under Costa Rica’s election rules, if a candidate wins with less than 44 percent of the vote, a second election is held as a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes.

So, if the opposition to the PLN is able to unite, the possibility exists that someone other than Chinchilla could win the presidency.

However, the fact that the next most popular candidates – Solís and Guevara – are ideologically opposed makes this less likely.

When the elections office closed on Oct. 23, nearly 7,000 people had registered as candidates in the February 2010 elections, which include municipal and regional races.


Name: Laura Chinchilla

Age: 50

Party: National Liberation Party

Political Orientation: Center, Center-Right

Resume: Public security vice minister (1994-1996), public security minister (1996-1998), legislator (2002-2006), vice president of the republic and justice minister (2006-2008)

Vice-presidents: Scientist Alfio Piva and businessman Luis Liberman

Key issues: Economy, security, the environment


Name: Luis Fishman

Age: 61

Party: Social Christian Unity Party

Political Orientation: Center-Right

Resume: Lawyer, legislator (1990-1994 and 1998-2002), public security minister (1990-1994), vice president of the republic (2002-2006), president of PUSC

Vice-presidents: Iris Zamora, journalist, and Humberto Vargas, engineer

Key issues: Security, education, cost of living


Name: Mayra González

Age: 56

Party: Costa Rican Renovation Party

Political Orientation: Center-Right (Christian

Resume: Lawyer, mayor of Tibás (2005-2006), also served as deputy mayor and city councilor

Vice-presidents: Carlos Alberto Víquez, customs administrator, and José Francisco, lawyer

Key issues: Security, fiscal reform, education


Name: Otto Guevara

Age: 49

Party: Libertarian Movement

Political Orientation: Right (libertarian)

Resume: Lawyer and professor, founder of the Libertarian Movement, legislator (1998-2002), two-time presidential candidate (2002 and 2006)

Vice-presidents: Mario Quirós, legislator, and Lorena San Román, engineer and biologist

Key issues: Security, employment, improvement of public services (education and health)


Name: Oscar López

Age: 38

Party: Accessibility without Exclusion Party

Political Orientation: Left

Resume: Former president of the National Foundation for the Blind, former representative to a United Nations Development Program commission, legislator (2006-2009)

Vice-presidents: Agnes Gutiérrez, nurse, and Miguel Calderón, academic

Key issues: Security, senior citizen issues, Education


Name: Walter Muñoz

Age: 50

Party: National Integration Party

Political Orientation: Center-Right

Resume: Physician and former legislator (1998-2002)

Vice-presidents: Alvaro Montero, lawyer and economist, Vivian González, agriculture engineer

Key issues: Health, security, employment


Name: Ottón Solís

Age: 55

Party: Citizen Action Party

Political Orientation: Center-Left

Resume: Academic and economist, national economics and political planning minister in the first administration of Oscar Arias (1986-1988), director of the Central Bank, legislator (1994-1998), party founder, two-time presidential candidate (2002 and 2006)

Vice-presidents: Mónica Segnini, businesswoman, and Julio Humphrey, public health specialist

Key issues: Education, competitiveness (state efficiency), small business



Name: Eugenio Trejos

Age: 50

Party: Broad Front Party

Political Orientation: Left

Resume: Academic and economist, Rector of the Costa Rican Institute of Technology, leader of opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)

Vice-presidents: Carmen Chacón, social worker, and Wilmar Matarrita, lawyer

Key issues: Poverty, economy, corruption





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