Araya easily re-elected
San José voters on Dec. 5 handed Johnny Araya another five years in office, re-electing the two-term mayor from the ruling National Liberation Party with 62 percent of a vote marked by absenteeism (see separate story).
Araya, has governed the Costa Rican capital for two decades, first as municipal administrator, then mayor. His latest electoral victory was sealed with less than 25,000 votes – one of the highest rates of absenteeism in the country (82 percent).
Asked whether voters selected him for his track record or the fact that he was the only recognizable name on the ballot, political analyst Victor Borge said, “[His election] shows that he’s been a good mayor. He was elected because he has gotten things done for San José.”
Araya is credited with the creation of two pedestrian walkways, encouraging culture and art and adding lights to make the city safer at night, among other things.
“It’s a city that you can visit,” Borge said. “There are parks, boulevards, commerce. There’s a lot more to do, but he has done a lot.”
Araya grew up in the Palmares and attended the University of Costa Rica’s campus in San Ramón, later moving to the Montes de Oca campus. He graduated with a degree in agricultural engineering.
Araya comes from a political family. His uncle, Luis Alberto Monge, was president from 1982 to 1986, his father was a vice-minister of transportation and legislator, and two uncles were also legislators.
Araya’s first political job in San José was city alderman in San José in 1982.
You may be interested
Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past weekThe Tico Times - May 21, 2018
Newly inaugurated Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado is closing in on two weeks on the job. Here are some of…
PHOTOS: International Museum Day in Costa RicaMitzi Stark - May 21, 2018
May 18 is International Museum Day, and Costa Rica celebrated with 31 mini-museums all in one at the Casa del…
Costa Rica, Panama refuse to acknowledge Venezuelan election resultsAFP - May 21, 2018
Costa Rica and Panama were two of 14 countries in the Americas to announce they would not acknowledge the results…