Johnny Araya
The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The Citizen Action Party (PAC) is holding its first international convention this weekend ahead of elections next February.

Less than seven months for the election, the race is led largely by the government candidate, the former mayor of San Jose Johnny Araya, with 26% support among those determined to vote, according to the most recent survey of UNIMER.

The PAC (center-left), founded in 2000, won the last two elections in Costa Rica, but at this time second in voter preference is occupied by the Social Unity Party candidate Cristiana (PUSC), Rodolfo Hernandez, with 12%.

That’s why Sunday’s convention is vital to the game, not only because that will decide the candidate, in an open vote nationwide, but because the day will reveal the level of support that has the party in general.

Costa Rica was traditionally a country with a two-party political system, but everything changed after 2004, when corruption scandals involving two former (PUSC) shook public opinion.

For the 2006 elections the PUSC virtually disappeared from the political map and its place was taken by the PAC, which would win the Presidency for the next 2 terms.

The PAC candidate, Otton Solis, lost the election by about 18,000 votes (1.1%) versus Oscar Arias, the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN), but his party was established as the second political force in Costa Rica.

For 2010, Solis lost again to Laura Chinchilla and the PLN, but this time the difference was 24 points between the current president and opposition leader.

Looking ahead to next February’s elections, the PUSC seems to have revived thanks to the figure of Hernandez, which opens a mystery about the future of the CAP, which is responsible, in large part, at the convention on Sunday.

The political scientist and former deputy Epsy Campbell is the most recognized presidential candidate of the party.

Their opponents are the current deputy and former president of Congress, Juan Carlos Mendoza and academic political scientist Luis Guillermo Solis and former deputy Ronald Solis, but their faces are unknown to most citizens.

The party printed 350,000 ballots to the convention, enough to cover almost 12% of the electorate, but none of its leaders wanted to venture to provide figures on the participation they expect Sunday.

The list of candidates who will contest the presidency of Costa Rica will be ready on Sunday and from there will start the real political campaign that will culminate in the elections on February 2 next year.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica