Mayors for Costa Rica’s 81 municipalities were sworn in this week. The National Liberation Party (PLN), to which President Laura Chinchilla belongs, overwhelmingly won municipal elections with 59 seats, including six of the seven provincial capitals. The Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) won nine, and the Citizen Action Party (PAC) won six. The remaining seats were split among six other parties. The PLN also won 59 mayors’ races in 2006.
One of the PLN’s mayoral candidates is Johnny Araya, who began his fourth term Monday as mayor of San José. As part of his reelection campaign, Araya has promised to bring streetcars back to the capital.
In Costa Rica, mayors are elected in four-year terms. Candidates must be registered with a legally inscribed political party. Absenteeism has traditionally been high in municipal elections, and this past December saw only 28 percent of eligible voters at the polls.