Costa Rica ruling party candidate Araya abandons presidential campaign

by Reuters
Wednesday, 5 March 2014 19:48 GMT

MEXICO CITY, March 5 (Reuters) - Costa Rica ruling party candidate Johnny Araya said on Wednesday he was abandoning his campaign to become president of the coffee-producing Central American nation a month before the election goes to a run-off vote.

Araya, of the ruling centrist National Liberation Party, said he would no longer campaign though under the constitution his name will remain on the ballot. The move appeared to guarantee victory for left-leaning former diplomat Luis Guillermo Solis, who emerged as the surprise front-runner in February.

Araya said he had taken the decision after polls showed voters wanted a change of government.

Araya has been beset by voter resentment over government corruption scandals under President Laura Chinchilla and rising inequality. A University of Costa Rica survey published late on Tuesday showed he trailed center-left rival Solis 20.9 percent to 64.4 percent ahead of the April 6 run-off. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Zach Dyer)

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