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Ticas reluctant to fund Johnny Araya’s presidential bid

October 25, 2013

Former San José Mayor Johnny Araya may enjoy a healthy lead in the 2014 presidential campaign, but with women donors, his party has had the worst fundraising performance of the five major parties in the first six months of 2013.

Only 4.2 percent of dollars raised by the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) in that period were from women donors, according to a Tico Times analysis of fundraising data from the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE). Araya’s party was the worst of the five major parties vying for the presidency, based on recent polling. Other parties include the Citizen Action Party (PAC), the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), the Libertarian Movement Party (ML), and the Broad Front Party (FA).

The result is striking, given that current President Laura Chinchilla, also of Liberation, became the country’s first woman president in 2010.

Contributions from women totaled 13.2 percent for all five parties during the six-month period.

Two parties managed to far exceed this average. PAC, with presidential nominee Luis Guillermo Solís, received 49.3 percent of contributions from women. The Libertarian Movement Party, with Otto Guevara at the top of the ticket, garnered 46 percent of contributions from women. Both parties benefited from having individual women giving large contributions.

The Broad Front Party, with presidential aspirant José Maria Villalta, came in a distant third with 8.7 percent of its contributions from women. PUSC, with new nominee Rodolfo Piza, came in just ahead of Araya with 6.3 percent of its contributions from women.

graphic-MW-Contributions

Costa Rica’s election authority releases information on party fundraising every three months, with the most recent reports available ending in June. The Broad Front Party has not yet reported fundraising totals for the April-June period, according to the TSE.

Overall, PUSC raised the most money of the five major parties in the first half the year, at just below $281,000. Helping PUSC were large contributions from its one-time nominee Rodolfo Hernández and its current nominee Piza. Araya’s party raised just less than $96,000 from direct contributions. PAC raised just less than $68,000. The Libertarian Movement Party raised a little more than $12,000, while the Broad Front Party raised a little more than $8,000, although it has not reported for the second quarter.

Private contributions are only a part of Costa Rica’s campaign financing, with parties getting more than 4 percent of the vote or winning at least one seat in the Legislative Assembly receiving access to public reimbursements after the election.

Araya still maintained a strong lead according to the latest poll by the daily La Nación in September. Araya polled at 27.5 percent, meaning a second-round runoff election is likely if the polling trend continues.

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