San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
National Liberation Party

Ex-President José María Figueres quits presidential race

Former Costa Rican President José María Figueres Olsen (1994-1998) withdrew his bid for the presidency in the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) primaries for the upcoming 2014 elections.

“I will devote all my energy and experience to work in a multifaceted project to build the country’s future, a project called Vía Costarricense [the Costa Rican Way],” Figueres said in a statement Wednesday evening. He confirmed Thursday morning at a press conference that he was dropping out of the race and planned on moving back to Costa Rica permanently.

“I think I can do a lot for Costa Rica without having to head the government,” he added.

Since his return to the country for the first time in 11 years on Dec. 22, after living in Europe, Figueres appeared as one of the strongest contenders for the PLN nomination.

He said at the time he was working on the Costa Rican Way project, gathering suggestions from citizens on how to build a better country. The project also involves a number of experts from political, social and economic fields.

The daily La Nación published on Thursday a poll showing that San José Mayor Johnny Araya leads among probable candidates in the PLN, with 16 percent voters, followed by Figueres and Rodrigo Arias, both with 6 percent.

Figueres said he would not officially back any candidates in the race. Liberation primaries are scheduled for April 2013.

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