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Laura Chinchilla Miranda

Chinchilla Wins PLN Vote

Laura Chinchilla Miranda 47%

Voters gave Laura Chinchilla their resounding support during Sunday's primary elections, making it a real possibility that Costa Rica could have a female president in 2010. 

Victory Crush: Laura Chinchilla meets and greets supporters gathered in celebration after she clinched the National Liberation Party's primary election on Sunday. (Ronald Reyes | Tico Times)According to the latest results, Chinchilla was 13 percentage points ahead of San José Mayor Johnny Araya, who had received 42 percent of the votes (118,296) and even further ahead of former Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal, with 3 percent (8,336.) 

“The election marks a page in the history books,” said Fernando Zeledón, political science professor at the University of Costa Rica. “Women have been legislators, ministers and presidents of organizations (in Costa Rica), but never a serious candidate for president.” 

And many pundits tilt February's victory in Chinchilla's favor. 

Her party – the National Liberation Party (PLN) – stands unrivaled in its popularity, drawing more than a half million voters in Sunday's primary election that still had ballot counters busy at week's end. 

The Citizen Action Party (PAC), which was the only other political party to hold a primary, did not attract nearly as many voters. Their election the week before, which was open only to party members, drew a mere 22,950. 

“(The PLN) has a longer history, more experience and more resources to draw on,” said Zeledón, “which puts them in a stronger position going ahead. But a lot of (Chinchilla's) success depends on how the campaigns develop.” 

Zeledón said that, despite popular belief, a Chinchilla presidency is not guaranteed. 

She faces two-time presidential candidate Ottón Solís, who founded the PAC, and former President Rafael Angel Calderón of the Social Christian Unity Party, whose father is credited with the creation of the Social Security System and the University of Costa Rica. The Libertarian Movement, which garnered 8 percent of the vote in the 2006 pr. sidential race, also will field a candidate.


By Chrissie Long


Original source: Tico Times News - June 12 - June 18, 2009

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