Ottón Solís

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Ottón Solís
Otton Solis Fallas.JPG
Deputy Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica
In office
5 January 2014 – 30 April 2019
Deputy Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica
In office
1994–1998
Economics Minister
In office
1986–1988
President Óscar Arias Administration
Personal details
Born May 31, 1954
Costa Rica
Citizenship Costa Rica
Nationality Costa Rican
Political party Citizens' Action Party
Other political
affiliations
Formerly National Liberation Party
Alma mater University of Manchester

Ottón Solís Fallas (born 31 May 1954 near Perez Zeledón) is a Costa Rica politician. He graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Costa Rica in 1976 and gained a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Manchester in 1978. He is currently serving his second term as deputy, was a founding member of the Citizens' Action Party (PAC for its Spanish initials), and ran as its three-time presidential candidate.[1] As an academic, he has taught at several universities in the United States and Costa Rica.[2]

Early political career[edit]

Solís was the National Economics Minister during the Óscar Arias administration, acting in this capacity between 1986 and 1988. He also served as Arias' director of political planning. He was elected as a law-maker to the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998, serving with the National Liberation Party, the party he would abandon shortly thereafter.[3]

Founding the Citizens' Action Party[edit]

In 2000, Solís, along with several other prominent PLN members, left the party to found PAC. They claimed that PLN's neoliberalism and corruption were reasons to break with the party.[4] Solís was the first president of PAC and a three time presidential candidate. Since then, Solís has insisted that PAC exists for the sole purpose of fiscal and economic reform.[3]

In 2006, Solís led PAC against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which became a rallying cry for the party.[4]

In addition to opposing corruption and neoliberalism, one of the founding aims of PAC was to create a more open party system. The party's primaries are open.[5] The party survived several internal ideological battles, adding prominent former Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC for its Spanish initials) members during the 2010 presidential campaign.[5] For his part, Solís said he welcomed a changing ideology and new members.[5]

Presidential Campaigns[edit]

In the 2002 Costa Rican presidential elections broke the prevailing bipartisan political model with 26% of the popular vote to occupy a strong third place in the Presidential race, behind PLN and PUSC.[4]

A virtual tie between former President Óscar Arias and Solís forced a recount in the 2006 presidential election. Ultimately, Arias won, though by only a few thousand votes over the 40 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff in a an election marked by voter absenteeism.[4] The Citizens' Action party won 17 of the 57 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the national legislature, becoming the second most powerful political party in Costa Rica, ousting PUSC from their traditional position. In the general election of 2010, Solís' PAC only received approximately 25% of the total vote, while his rival, Laura Chinchilla, the PLN's candidate obtained 47% of the vote turnover. Solís' third attempt to reach the presidency of Costa Rica, and he said he would not run again.[4]

Temporary leave from politics[edit]

On 8 February 2011 Solís announced that he was abandoning politics for good, expressing his desire to create spaces for a new emerging leaders with his party.[6] Solis stated that he was not planning to become again the PAC's presidential candidate. This decision reflected, in his opinion, the commitment of his party to remain fresh.[6]

Solís returned to politics two years later after serving as an Eminent Scholar at the University of Florida and in several other academic posts.[2] Nevertheless, Solís ran with PAC and won a seat for deputy in 2014.[1]

Political and economic philosophy[edit]

Anti-neoliberalism[edit]

Solís asserts that his party- PAC- is not guided by any ideology. In an interview he stated that "We, at PAC, have not been interested in adopting an ideology. There are proposals that can be considered as coming from the center-right, such as the efficiency of the state, sound fiscal and monetary policies, the conviction that work is what takes to get people out of poverty. But there are other views that can be perceived as socialist, such as our conviction that access to such things as health, education, electricity, telecommunications, culture, technology, and sport, cannot be left to the market forces; universal access criteria must prevail in those cases." How you can call that? I don’t know, but if God commands to say something then I’d say that our ideology is human rights and citizens’ action."

Solís has outspokenly criticized neoliberalism in Latin America that he associates with the policies advocated by the Washington Consensus, which in his view are wrong, and have led Latin America countries towards the wrong path.[citation needed]

Anti-CAFTA stance[edit]

Solís is a critic of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). He has called for the renegotiations of CAFTA to add protection for vulnerable farmers and industrial companies. He has said that, in its current form, "CAFTA will increase poverty in Central America because it will displace farmers and industrial workers and will increase the cost of health care."[7] He also said that "I never imagined CAFTA was going to be so one sided", and "The law of the jungle benefits the big beast. We are a very small beast."[8] Solís sees several possible detrimental aspects that could come from CAFTA. First he claims that it will cause the breakup of the public telecommunications and electricity monopolies which will have to be privatized. Additionally he argues that the lowered trade barriers will cause a flood of cheap food products from the United States and this will force small-scale farmers out of the internal market.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ramón, Gerardo Ruiz (25 March 2014). "Ottón Solís se 'alinea' y defiende propuestas fiscales de Luis Guillermo Solís". La Nacion (in Spanish) (San Jose, Costa Rica). Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Prominent politician joins UGA Costa Rica 2013 Summer Faculty". University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs Press Release. 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Ruiz R., Gerardo (8 February 2014). "Ottón Solís: ‘El tema fiscal es urgente, pero respeto la decisión del candidato’". La Nacion (in Spanish) (San Jose). Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Costa Rica, Sistema de Partidos" (in Spanish). Latinoamerica Libre. January 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c González, César (28 May 2012). "Líderes del PAC discrepan sobre situación del partido". Costa Rica Hoy. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Mayorga, Gabriela (8 February 2008). "Ottón Solís descarta volver a aspirar a la presidencia". La Nacion (in Spanish) (San Jose, Costa Rica). Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Vaughan, Martin (9 June 2005). "Arias Says Region Might Lose Benefits Without CAFTA". CongressDaily AM. pp. 15–16. 
  8. ^ James C. McKinley Jr. (21 August 2005). "U.S. Trade Pact Divides the Central Americans, With Farmers and Others Fearful". New York Times. 
  9. ^ Abrams, Jim (10 June 2005). "Administration moves to ease objections to trade agreement". Associated Press. 

External links[edit]