San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Citizen Action Party

President of ruling Citizen Action Party steps down after just two months

Rodrigo Alberto Carazo Zeledón filed his resignation letter as president of the ruling Citizen Action Party (PAC) on Wednesday evening, citing health and personal reasons.

Carazo, 66, was elected by party members on June 28 and will leave office on Friday, one day before the party’s national assembly.

“I was wrong. I failed at assesing the magnitude of involvement of this post and it has become very intense. I can no longer continue with the responsibility of chairing the party. In the short term it would result in a deterioration of my work,” reads part of the letter sent by Carazo to PAC leaders.

Early on Wednesday, Carazo first spoke with members of PAC’s executive committee at the party’s headquarters in San José. Later in the evening he confirmed his resignation to the party’s political committee.

During his 67 days as party president he managed PAC’s first major scandals, including one involving the payment of ₡117 million ($220,000) made to party lawyer Jorge Sibaja for unnecessarily certifying documents. (The Supreme Elections Tribunal already offers parties free certification tools for all campaign-related documents.)

PAC also faced criticism when it became public that they had paid ₡75 million ($140,000) in bonuses to Iván Barrantes, a political strategist who designed President Luis Guillermo Solís’ campaign, as well as other large expenses during the runoff election.

Carazo, son of former President Rodrigo Alberto Carazo Odio, will officially present his resignation to PAC’s National Assembly on Saturday. The party’s vice president, Katia Martin, will chair the meeting.

PAC founder and current lawmaker Ottón Solís lamented Carazo’s decision, calling it an irreparable loss.

“Rodrigo Alberto Carazo is the best thing that could have happened to the party two months ago. He always strictly followed our party’s principles,” Solís said Wednesday evening.

Carazo, who was Costa Rica’s first ombudsman in 1993 and a PAC lawmaker from 2002-2006, said that he had agreed to become PAC’s president “with the purpose of attracting new blood, to enforce new management models and to work ahead of the municipal elections in 2015.”

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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