San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Liberation candidate Johnny Araya travels to Mexico for advice on politics

Costa Rican National Liberation Party (PLN) presidential candidate Johnny Araya has set off on a three-day visit to Mexico City to learn about the Pact for Mexico, a political agreement signed by the three largest parties in the country. Araya left Tuesday and will be back in Costa Rica on Friday.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the agreement with his political opponents one day after his party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), returned to power on Dec. 1, 2012. The PRI ruled Mexico for 71 straight years, until it was ousted in the 2000 presidential elections.

The Pact for Mexico committed leaders of the three main political parties to promoting economic and political reforms in the country. So far, lawmakers in the Mexican Congress have collaborated to pass a new telecommunications bill, an education bill and fiscal reform. Currently, the parties are discussing the details of a new energy law to allow private investment in the state-owned oil monopoly.

While the Pact for Mexico was successful in breaking stalemate negotiations in Congress, it was challenged when leaders of the opposition accused the PRI of fraud in state-level elections last July. To preserve the pact, the PRI recognized the victory of the opposition candidate in the northern state of Baja California.

Congress also approved education reform in Mexico that introduced performance-related tests for teachers. That move sparked clashes between teachers unions and police during a series of protests across the country last September. 

Front-running presidential candidate Araya will meet with PRI leader César Camacho and a leader of the right-wing National Action Party, Gustavo Madero. Araya also plans to promote his campaign among Tico voters in Mexico City. According to Costa Rica’s Supreme Elections Tribunal, 418 Ticos are registered to vote in Mexico, making it the third-largest population of Costa Rican voters living abroad. 

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