San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Luis Guillermo Solís wins Citizens Action Party presidential nomination

Political analyst Luis Guillermo Solís on Monday became the likely to be presidential candidate for the 2014 elections for the Citizen Action Party (PAC), the main opposition force in Costa Rica, the party announced after finishing counting primary votes cast on Sunday.

However, the result must be confirmed by a hand count of ballots that began Monday, PAC’s Election Tribunal President Silvia Castro said in a press conference.

Because of the small difference the final result must be confirmed by manual counting of the nearly 24,000 votes received, “so that the official declaration will not be made until the count is completed, probably by the end of week,” Castro stated.

After the first count, Solís was the winner with 35.53 percent of votes, just 0.31 percent more than his main challenger, lawmaker Juan Carlos Mendoza, who got 35.22 percent. On Sunday and for most of Monday, Mendoza was considered the “virtual winner” by most local media.

“We are confident in the Internal Elections Tribunal’s final ruling, because we’ve always been respectful of our [party’s] institutionality,” Mendoza said on Monday afternoon. “Wheter it’s me or him [Solís], we will support each other,” he added.

Solís, 55, is a political scientist, historian and university professor. He was part of ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) for nearly three decades, and even became its general secretary from 2002-2003.

In 2005, he left PLN, strongly criticizing the party’s leaders, accusing them of abandoning the party’s social democratic ideology, and for what he considered to be “unacceptable levels of corruption.”

This is the first time since PAC was founded in 2002 that its presidential candidate will not be the party’s founder, economist Ottón Solís, who ran in three consecutive elections.

PAC is also the opposition party with the largest representation in the Legislative Assembly.

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