Front-runner Araya draws first major allegations in campaign

As expected, the curse of being the front-runner cast a shadow over the campaign of Johnny Araya Monge.

He was the target of financial allegations directed his way by a legislator and a member of the San José municipal council. Both are members of the Partido Acción Ciudadana.

According to allegations voiced at a press conference, Araya has left his job as mayor of San José with the municipality on the verge of a financial crisis.

The subtext was if he can’t run the municipality he should not be allowed to run the country.

Araya is the nominee of the Partido Liberación Nacional. Acción Ciudadana also plans to field a candidate.

The Accion Ciudadana members were Yolanda Acuña Castro,the lawmakers, and Eugenia Bermúdez, who holds the position of regidora or council member.

Ms. Acuña said that 68 percent of the municipal debt is uncollectible. Ms. Bermúdez said that the municipal debt increased 43 percent in just one year.
The allegations strike at the base of Araya’s campaign. He has styled himself as a public official who can get a job done. 

Acción Ciudadana said it has raised the issue of municipal finance to the Contraloría General de la República, the budget watchdog. Much of the allegation was based on a study by an accounting firm.

Araya has not responded yet to the allegations, but he has been working to distance himself from President Laura Chinchilla, who belongs to the same political party.

Presidential elections are the first Sunday in February.

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