Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Disappointment at the polls leaves Liberation voters wondering if their party is still evergreen

March 5, 2014

A cheer burst out of the crowd of white-and-green-clad National Liberation Party (PLN) supporters as the first round of votes came in early Sunday night.

With 9 percent counted by the Supreme Elections Tribunal at 8:30 p.m., the ruling PLN candidate Johnny Araya had what seemed a commanding lead at 36.24 percent, followed by Citizen Action Party candidate Luis Guillermo Solís, with 22.8 percent.

“I feel excellent, excellent. We’re winning and that’s what’s important,” said Jenia Ibarba, 29, waving a giant green-and-white striped PLN flag.

“There’s not going to be a second round, no way. Liberation’s going to win in the first,” she said.

But as the night wore on, the flags started to fall limp and the music got louder as organizers tried to buoy their supporters’ spirits as Araya’s lead fell and Solís’ rose.

The dancing at the Crown Plaza Corobicí Hotel continued, but PLN supporters started keeping their eyes on the results projected on the three large screens against the ballroom’s back wall.

When Araya’s campaign chief Antonio Álvarez Desanti came out just before 10 p.m., the evening hit its nadir. Desanti formally recognized Araya would face a runoff.

“As they say in aviation, today we’re having a stopover in February to land definitively in April,” he said.

While the crowd cheered, tears started to fall down some supporters’ cheeks even as they danced, their candidate suddenly faced with a difficult opponent in the coming months on the night that was supposed to cement the PLN in office for a historic third term.

Solís had risen to 28.4 percent to Araya’s 31.2 percent. By the end of the night, Solís would reach 30.77 percent to Araya’s 29.68 percent, taking the lead he could never achieve in polls as a candidate.

Araya continued the air travel metaphor:

“Today’s outcome has not caused any turbulence in my heart or mind.”

Despite the former San José mayor’s sunny outlook, the coming months will not likely be a smooth ride.

In a Jan. 28 poll by Semanario Universidad, Solís easily beat Araya in a runoff election 46.8 percent to 29.4 percent, respectively.

While Costa Rica’s electoral polling has proven less than stellar, Araya supporters seemed to agree.

“We have to be optimists but it’s difficult,” Ivania Álvarez, 44, told The Tico Times.

“He’s going to be strong, Luis Guillermo [Solís],” said Kenneth Villalobos, a 31-year-old PLN booster. “I think he has a lot of support from other parties like the Broad Front Party and the Libertarian Movement Party because they’re all going against the years National Liberation was in power. Eight years – it’s a lot. I think it’s going to be complicated for Liberation.”

You may be interested

Henrietta Boggs, First Lady of the Revolution, dies at 102
Archive
2590 views
Archive
2590 views

Henrietta Boggs, First Lady of the Revolution, dies at 102

Mike Faulk - September 24, 2020

Henrietta Boggs, the Alabama woman who married a revolutionary President of Costa Rica and became the First Lady of the Revolution,…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Thursday, September 24
Costa Rica
5505 views
Costa Rica
5505 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Thursday, September 24

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 24, 2020

Costa Rica announced 14 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 795, according to official data…

Costa Rica expands list of authorized states, countries for tourists
Costa Rica
1065 views
Costa Rica
1065 views

Costa Rica expands list of authorized states, countries for tourists

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 24, 2020

Costa Rica has expanded the list of countries and U.S. states from which it will welcome tourists in October, Tourism…