Araya easily re-elected
San José voters on Dec. 5 handed Johnny Araya another five years in office, re-electing the two-term mayor from the ruling National Liberation Party with 62 percent of a vote marked by absenteeism (see separate story).
Araya, has governed the Costa Rican capital for two decades, first as municipal administrator, then mayor. His latest electoral victory was sealed with less than 25,000 votes – one of the highest rates of absenteeism in the country (82 percent).
Asked whether voters selected him for his track record or the fact that he was the only recognizable name on the ballot, political analyst Victor Borge said, “[His election] shows that he’s been a good mayor. He was elected because he has gotten things done for San José.”
Araya is credited with the creation of two pedestrian walkways, encouraging culture and art and adding lights to make the city safer at night, among other things.
“It’s a city that you can visit,” Borge said. “There are parks, boulevards, commerce. There’s a lot more to do, but he has done a lot.”
Araya grew up in the Palmares and attended the University of Costa Rica’s campus in San Ramón, later moving to the Montes de Oca campus. He graduated with a degree in agricultural engineering.
Araya comes from a political family. His uncle, Luis Alberto Monge, was president from 1982 to 1986, his father was a vice-minister of transportation and legislator, and two uncles were also legislators.
Araya’s first political job in San José was city alderman in San José in 1982.
You may be interested
Update: Health Ministry suspects 19 deaths due to adulterated alcoholAlejandro Zúñiga - July 19, 2019
Costa Rica's Health Ministry last week issued a sanitary alert over liquor that has been sold to the public containing…
Costa Rica to renovate Limón cruise terminalAlejandro Zúñiga - July 19, 2019
The 193,000 cruise passengers who arrive annually to Costa Rica’s Caribbean will soon enjoy renovated facilities. The Costa Rican government…
Costa Rica named as Mexico & Central America’s Leading DestinationAlejandro Zúñiga - July 18, 2019
Costa Rica was named "Mexico & Central America's Leading Destination" at the 2019 World Travel Awards Latin America. Considered the…