San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican Left Forms Coalition for Election

A portion of the political left united behind a single presidential candidate with 22 days to go in the campaign.

At a press conference last Friday, Walter Muñoz, presidential candidate of the National Integration Party, and Rolando Araya, candidate of the Patriotic Alliance, announced they would support the candidacy of Ottón Solís, economist and founder of the 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 campaign’s front-runners, however.

Laura Chinchilla, candidate for 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. According to recent studies, Solís – the left’s leading candidate – would muster only 15 percent of the vote.

Left-wing parties that did not to join the coalition to support Solís were the Broad Front Party whose candidate is Eugenio Trejos, and the Accessibility without Exclusion Party (PASE), headed by Oscar López.

“We have received a very strong response from people all over the country,” Trejos told The Tico Times last week. “That enthusiasm is not transferable.” However, Trejos 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.”

–Chrissie Long

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