April 7th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Former diplomat and academic Luis Guillermo Solis has easily won Costa Rica’s presidential runoff election.
Sunday’s win was no surprise. His opponent, Johnny Araya of the ruling National Liberation Party, or PLN, dropped out of the race on March 5th after Solis’ popularity skyrocketed following the first-round vote.
Araya’s name remained on the ballot because the constitution prevented him from withdrawing. He earned about 20 percent of Sunday’s votes, despite withdrawing.
Solis was a member of PLN, but became disillusioned and quit it in 2005.
Political power in Costa Rica has traditionally been traded between the PLN and the Social Christian Unity Party.
Solis, a member of the moderate Citizen Action Party, is the first third-party candidate to win the Costa Rican presidency in decades.
Solis has never held political office and was largely unknown until the race, though he has worked in several PLN administrations and once served as ambassador to Panama.
In early January, polls showed that Solis had only five-percent support among voters. His party, formed to fight corruption and support of better income distribution, is just 13 years old.
Solis will assume office on May 8th.
While some international media has referred to Solis and his party as ‘leftist,’ the party and Solis are better described as centrist.
VOA and AFP contributed to this report.