San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican left wing forms coalition for Feb. 7 election

The political left united behind one candidate with 22 days to go on the campaign trail.

At a press conference on Friday morning, the National Integration Party, Patriotic Alliance and Citizen Action Party announced their intention to combine platforms under educator and economist Ottón Solís, founder and candidate of Citizen Action Party (PAC).

“Our central objective … is to achieve electoral victory in the next elections and to win the presidency for Ottón Solís, who serves as the presidential candidate in representation of our political organizations,” read an agreement signed by all three parties at the Hotel Clarión in San José.

The last-minute move may not be enough to upset the country´s center and right-wing parties, however.

Laura Chinchilla, of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN), enjoys 40 percent of voter support while the Libertarian Movement´s Otto Guevara has 30 percent, according to a Unimer poll published Sunday by the daily La Nación. If the vote were held today, according to the poll, these candidates would have to face each other in a runoff. In a poll of those voters who said they would vote in a second round, Chinchilla and Guevara practically tied, at 47 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

According to recent studies, Solís would muster only 15 percent of the vote.

The only left-wing party not to joint the leftist coalition was the Broad Front Party and its candidate, Eugenio Trejos.

“We have received a very strong response from people all over the country,” he told The Tico Times on Friday afternoon. “That enthusiasm is not transferable.”

However, he said he is not opposed to coalitions. “We have fought to form coalitions at the municipal level for years … but a decision made by (party leaders) was to elect me as their candidate, and we are not going to waver from their decision.”

Front-runner Chinchilla looked to collect on disenfranchised voters following the move to form a coalition.

She said in a statement, “We respect the decision and invite the people who sympathize with these parties to join the National Liberation Party. I am sure we can agree on issues like defense of the Caja (the Social Security System that oversees public health care), public education and a country with better employment.”

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