San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
National Liberation Party

Former Costa Rican President José María Figueres confirms 2014 presidential bid

For months, former Costa Rican President José María Figueres (1994-1998) dodged reporters’ questions about whether his recent return to Costa Rica after years of living in Europe signified an interest in running for president in 2014. Figueres frequently responded that it was too early for campaigning.

That seems to have changed late last week as a spokesman for the former president confirmed a report in the daily La Nación that Figueres would seek a second term in the nation’s highest political office.

“Don José María has said that he wants to be a presidential candidate to arrive at Zapote,” the former president’s spokesman, José Manuel Peña, told local news station Radio ADN, La Nación reported.

Peña’s confirmation follows an earlier report in the daily that said San José Mayor Johnny Araya had confirmed Figueres’ presidential plans after a meeting between the two leaders of the National Liberation Party in late August.

The 57-year-old former president returned to Costa Rica in December 2011 for the first time in 11 years, after moving to Europe following a scandal involving French telecom Alcatel, which allegedly paid Figueres nearly $1 million in consulting fees in exchange for lobbying for the company in Costa Rica. While Figueres was never charged with a crime, many Costa Ricans believe the payment was highly irregular.

In late July, Figueres launched “La Vía Costarricense” (“The Costa Rican Way”), a public initiative to “help solve the country’s ongoing problems.” At the time, Figueres denied the initiative was a political move preceding an eventual bid to the Casa Presidencial. “I’m not thinking about that right now. This is not the time to talk about that,” he said on July 23.

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