Citizens' Action Party (Costa Rica)

The Citizens' Action Party (Spanish: Partido Acción Ciudadana; commonly abbreviated as PAC) is a centre-left political party in Costa Rica.[6]

Citizens' Action Party
Partido Acción Ciudadana
LeaderCarlos Alvarado Quesada
PresidentMarta Eugenia Solano Arias
Secretary-GeneralAntony Cascante Ramírez
Vice PresidentAlfredo Chavarría
TreasurerAura Martínez Pérez
IdeologySocial democracy
Political positionCentre-left[3][4]
International affiliationProgressive Alliance[5]
Colors  Gold
Legislative Assembly
9 / 57
5 / 82
34 / 508
18 / 486
District councillors
111 / 1,944
1 / 8
Party flag
Bandera Partido Acción Ciudadana Costa Rica.svg

Its platform is based on encouraging citizen participation and involvement in politics. One of its guiding ideals is to fight against corruption, arguing that it is one of the main causes of underdevelopment and voter apathy. The party took a leading role in the failed campaign against Costa Rica's membership of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

History and electionsEdit

Founding and 2002 electionEdit

PAC was founded in December 2000 by several dissidents from Costa Rica's two traditional parties, the National Liberation Party and the Social Christian Unity Party. Originally an anti-corruption party, it startled the Costa Rican political arena with a very strong showing in the 2002 general elections. In the presidential vote, party founder and candidate Ottón Solís was able to secure 26% of the votes – an unprecedented amount for a third party in Costa Rica – and force a runoff between the PLN and PUSC.

The party won 21.9% of the popular vote and 14 out of 57 seats in the Legislative Assembly, making it the third strongest political force in the legislature. A few months later, however, after a series of internal disputes, six of the party's 14 deputies resigned from the party, leaving PAC with only eight seats.

2006 electionEdit

In the February 5, 2006 parliamentary election, the party won 17 out of 57 seats. Ottón Solís ran for president again, losing to the PLN's Oscar Arias Sanchez by less than 2% of the votes. Arias only won by a few thousand votes over the 40 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff. The number of spoiled ballots was larger than the margin between Solís and Arias.

PAC's Youth General Assembly, 2016

After the 2006 election, Ótton Solís took a year away from politics to teach in the United States. Former PLN Secretary General Luis Guillermo Solís' name began being circulated at meetings of the "ungroup," an informal gathering of PAC officials, led by former deputy Alberto Salom.[7] Several PAC officials wanted Luis Guillermo Solís to run as a deputy in San José and as a vice presidential candidate in 2010.[7]

Future President Luis Guillermo Solís joined the party in 2009.[8] and attended meetings of the "ungroup" shortly thereafter in anticipation of the 2014 election.[7]

2010 electionEdit

In the 2010 election, Ottón Solís ran for his third and final time as president. Laura Chinchilla of the PLN won, but Ottón Solís finished with 25.2% of the votes. PAC won the second fraction in the Legislative Assembly with 11 deputies elected. Six candidates won municipal elections in the rural communities of Aserrí, Matina, Hojancha, Cañas, Los Chiles y Guatuso.

2014 electionEdit

PAC supporters wave their traditional colors to celebrate Luis Guillermo Solís' victory on 6 April 2014

In 2013, PAC held its second national convention. It was an open convention in which any citizen could vote, despite party affiliation. Four candidates vied for the primary to represent PAC in the 2014 national elections: Epsy Campbell Barr, Juan Carlos Mendoza, Luis Guillermo Solís, and Ronald Solís Bolaños, with Luis Guillermo Solís winning 35% of the votes.

On 6 April 2014, Luis Guillermo Solís became the president elect of Costa Rica. PAC candidates won 13 seats in the Legislative Assembly.[9]

2018 electionEdit

The third national convention was held between only two candidates, both former ministers on PAC's first cabinet; Minister of Economy Welmer Ramos and Minister of Labor Carlos Alvarado. Ramos was an economist, more socially conservative and close to the "ottonista" faction, whilst Alvarado was writer and political scientist, much more socially liberal and younger, close to the "progresista" faction. Alvarado won the primary election becoming PAC's first time candidate during government.

Despite suffering from a diminished popularity due to the Cementazo scandal affecting the image of Luis Guillermo Solis' government, Alvarado's progressive positions boost him into the second round as a counter-reaction after the growth of Evangelical Christian singer and ultra-conservative candidate Fabricio Alvarado after the backlash against the IACHR's ruling ordering the country to legalize same-sex marriage, winning by a wide margin in the second round with 60% of the votes and more than 1,300,000 votes over the 39% and around 800,000 votes of his rival, becoming the second time that the party achieved more than a million votes in second round.[10][11]


While cleaning up corruption has been one of PAC's main goals since its creation, Solís has added to the party's platform. He wants to build infrastructure, bolster Costa Rica's universal health care and social security systems and push for environmentally friendly policies.[12][13] Historically, PAC has opposed free trade agreements such as CAFTA, which Solís claims is improperly implemented.[14] In addition, PAC claims that the country's tax system is inadequate, saying that more "progressive" system is needed.[15]

International relationsEdit

PAC is a member of the Progressive Alliance.[16] It maintains informal relations with other progressive and social democratic parties. Ottón Solís has independently met with Ricardo Lagos of the Socialist Party of Chile during a visit to Costa Rica, Cristina Fernández, and members of the Democratic Party of the United States.[17]


Estafa casesEdit

The party was affected in 2016 by a conviction for irregular handling of funds when treasurer Maynor Sterling and an official of the headquarters named Bolaños were found guilty of trying to collect from the Supreme Elections Court for goods and services donated by adherents of the party. The conviction carried a fine of 500 million colones and jail terms for the two involved. In December 2020, the PAC resorts to requesting donations to pay the debt for fraud to the State.[18]


2014–2018 Legislative Assembly DeputiesEdit

2014–2018 PAC Legislative Assembly Deputies
Name (Last, First) Region
Barr, Epsy Campbell San José
Solís Fallas, Ottón San José
Morales Zapata, Víctor Hugo San José
Guerrero Campos, Marcela San José
Atencio Delgado, Ruperto Marvin San José
Jiménez Vásquez, Nidia María Alajuela
Cambronero Arguedas, Javier Francisco Alajuela
Corella Vargas, Franklin Alajuela
Molina Cruz, Emilia Cartago
Redondo Quirós, Marco Vinicio Cartago
Mora Jiménez, Henry Heredia
Madrigal Flores, Marlene Heredia
Garro Sánchez, Laura María Puntarenas

2010–2014 MayorsEdit

2010–2014 Mayors
Name (Last, First) Municipality
Lawson, Elvis Matina
Morales Mora, Víctor Aserrí
Pineda, Eduardo Hojancha
Álvaro, Solano Los Chiles
Torres, Abelino Guatuso
Zúñiga, Lizanías Cañas

Other notable members of PACEdit

Notable Members of PAC
Name (Last, First) Notes
Barr, Epsy Campbell Deputy 2002–2006 and 2014–2018, party president 2005–2009, politician, civil rights advocate
Blanco, Wilfrido Vice Minister of Education Abel Pacheco administration (2002–2006). Former PLN member.
Carazo Zeledón, Rodrigo Alberto National Ombudsman 1993–1997, and deputy 2002–2006. Son of ex-president Rodrigo Carazo Odio
Chacón Echeverría, Ana Helena Minister of Public Safety (Abel Pacheco administration (2002–2006), deputy (2006–2010), daughter of Luis Manuel Chacón (founding member of PUSC), Vice President (2014).[19]
Echeverría, Alberto Salom president of the Costa Rican Federation of University Students 1974–1975, vice president of National University of Costa Rica 1995–2000, deputy for PAC (2006–2010).
Escalante, Alberto Cañas founding member of PAC, secretary of the Founding Junta of the Second Republic 1948, United Nations ambassador 1948–1949, president Editorial Costa Rica, deputy 1962–1966, Legislative Assembly President 1994–1998, Prime Minister 1970–1974.
Fallas, Helio Minister of Planning Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier administration (1990–1994), Minister of Housing during Abel Pacheco administration (2002–2006), Vice President, 2014.[15] Former PUSC member
Fonseca Corrales, Dr. Elizabeth historian, professor Universidad de Costa Rica. 2010 leader of PAC fraction in National Assembly.
Miranda, Dr. Guido Executive President Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social. Former PLN member.
Mendoza García, Juan Carlos deputy 2010–2014, Factional President 2010-1011, and Legislative Assembly President 2011–2012.
Morales Mora, Víctor Minister of Labor Miguel Ángel Rodríguez administration (1998–2002), and deputy (Calderón Fournier administration) 1990–1994, Aserrí Mayor. Former PUSC member.
Penón Góngora, Margarita first lady of Costa Rica 1986–1990 (ex-wife of Óscar Arias) and deputy (2002–2006). Replaced by Aguilar Mirambell in 2005 after resignation.[20]
Salas Bonilla, Jorge Antonio Mayor of Tibás Cantón 2007–2011.
Solano, Hernán Vice Minister of Youth Abel Pacheco administration (2002–2006). Former PUSC member.
Ottón Solís, Fallas Minister of Planning Óscar Arias administration (1986–1988), deputy (Figueres administration) 1994–1998, founding member of PAC, three-time presidential candidate for PAC, deputy 2014–2018.
Solís Bolaños, Ronald deputy with PAC 2006–2010, anti-CAFTA activist, businessman. Ran in PAC presidential primary in 2013.
Solís Rivera, Luis Guillermo Politician, historian, professor of Latin American Studies. Ex PLN Secretary General. President Elect 2014–2018.
Eduardo Trejos Lalli Internationalist and advisor, current Intelligence Director
Villasuso, Juan Manuel President of Costa Rican Institute of Electricity Luis Alberto Monge administration (1982–1983), Minister of Planning Luis Alberto Monge administration (1983–1986). Former PLN member.

Electoral performanceEdit


Election Leader First round Second round
Votes % Position Result Votes % Position Result
2002 Ottón Solís 400,681 26.2% 3/12 Lost
2006 646,382 39.8%   2/7 Lost
2010 464,454 25.2%   2/9 Lost
2014 Luis Guillermo Solís 629,866 30.6%   1/13 - 1,314,327 77.8% 1/2 Won
2018 Carlos Alvarado Quesada 466,129 21.6%   2/13 - 1,281,292 60.8% 1/2 Won


Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2002 Ottón Solís 334,162 22.0%
14 / 57
New 3/18 Opposition
2006 409,030 25.3%
17 / 57
  3   2/11 Opposition
2010 334,636 17.6%
11 / 57
  6   2/18 Opposition
2014 Luis Guillermo Solís 480,969 23.4%
13 / 57
  2   2/18 Government
2018 Carlos Alvarado Quesada 347,703 16.3%
10 / 57
  3   3/7 Government


  1. ^ "Pese a ser 'figueristas', en La Lucha votaron PAC". La Nación. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  2. ^ Badilla, Gabriela. "Solís visitó finca de los Figueres en lo que denominó un "acto histórico"". Teletica. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  3. ^ Smith, Amy Erica (Apr 2, 2018). "Is Costa Rica's presidential election a victory for liberalism?". Vox. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Centre-left, pro-gay marriage candidate wins Costa Rica election". France24. 02/04/2018. Retrieved 14 August 2021. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Participants announces". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Global Elections Round-Up: Last 12 Months". Fitch Solutions. 31 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Oviedo, Estaban (8 April 2014). "Luis Guillermo Solís: El profesor desconocido que, en tres años, llegó a ser el presidente" [Luis Guillermo Solís: The unknown professor who, in three years, became president]. La Nación (San Jose) (in Spanish). San José. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  8. ^ Ortiz de Zárate (editor), Roberto (March 2014). "Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, CIDOB" (in Spanish). Barcelona: Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. Retrieved 1 April 2014.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Agüero R., Mercedes (18 March 2014). "Diálogo y acuerdo, las palabras de moda en futuros diputados". La Nacion (Costa Rica). Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  10. ^ Garcia, David Alire; Pretel, Enrique Andres. "Costa Rica center-left easily wins presidency in vote fought on gay rights". Reuters. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  11. ^ Stanley, Katherine. "Carlos Alvarado wins Costa Rica's presidency in a landslide". The Tico Times. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  12. ^ Dyer, Zach (3 November 2013). "Costa Rican presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solís: 'It's not going to be business as usual'". The Tico Times. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  13. ^ Díaz, Luis Edo. (27 January 2014). "Luis Guillermo Solís llama a sus seguidores a 'cambiar la historia' patria" [Luis Guillermo Solís calls on his supporters to 'change history' for the country]. La Nación (in Spanish). San José. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  14. ^ Sequeira, Aaron (20 February 2014). "Luis Guillermo Solís propone evitar firma de nuevos tratados comerciales" [Luis Guillermo Solís proposes avoiding the signing of new free trade agreements]. La Nación (in Spanish). San José. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  15. ^ a b Leiton, Patricia (24 March 2014). "PAC haría reforma fiscal, impuesto por impuesto" [PAC will make fiscal reforms, tax by tax]. La Nacion (in Spanish). San José. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  16. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Felicita Argentina a presidente-electo de Costa Rica" [Argentina congratulates president-elect of Costa Rica]. La Prensa Latina (in Spanish). Havana. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  18. ^ "PAC recurrirá a donaciones para cancelar deuda por estafa al Estado". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  19. ^ Ruiz Ramón, Gerardo (9 October 2013). "PAC ofrece candidatura a la vicepresidencia a Ana Helena Chacón". La Nacion (in Spanish). San José, Costa Rica. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  20. ^ diputados Accessed on Nov 22, 2007.

External linksEdit