SAN JOSE, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Costa Ricans head to the polls Sunday to elect a new president. Among 13 registered candidates, three are leading the pre-election surveys.
Pre-election polls revealed Johnny Araya Monge, the candidate of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN), leads with 17.4 percent support, followed by center-left Broad Front (FA) candidate Jose Maria Villalta with 14.4 percent and Luis Guillermo Solis, of the Citizen's Action Party (PAC), with 11.6 percent.
The following are profiles of the three leading candidates:
-- Johnny Araya, born on April 29, 1957, is a former mayor of San Jose.
Araya graduated from the University of Costa Rica in 1980 as an agronomic engineer and worked in that field for many years.
His uncle Luis Alberto Monge was president of Costa Rica from 1982 to 1986.
Araya served as the president of the Latin American Federation of Cities from 2006 to 2009, and president of the organizing committee of the 10th Central American Games in San Jose in 2013.
During his presidential campaign, Araya promised to make improvements in various areas including infrastructure, education, energy, fiscal policy, employment and security.
He has pledged to head a national program that will boost economic growth and social equality, including political reforms to strengthen social welfare programs and combat crime.
Araya also stressed the importance of narrowing the income gap by generating jobs for young people and improving education.
-- Jose Maria Villalta, born on Aug. 13, 1977, is the youngest of the candidates.
After studying law at the University of Costa Rica, Villalta spent 10 years as a legislative advisor to an assemblyman, garnering experience in how to draft and propose bills.
In 2010, he became a deputy himself for his party, and has since presented more than 100 bills -- 10 of which were successfully passed.
His national program, centered on the belief that Costa Rica's most urgent problem is rising social inequality and poverty, aims to regulate the prices of the basic food basket, invest in healthcare, improve public transportation and infrastructure, preserve the environment, defend workers' rights and fight corruption.
-- Luis Guillermo Solis, born on April 25, 1958, studied history at the University of Costa Rica and has a master's degree in Latin American Studies from Tulane University in the United States.
Solis was a member of the ruling party until 2005, when he denounced the party for irregularities and corruption. He joined the PAC in 2009.
Among his main proposals are cleaning up corruption, investing in infrastructure and promoting universal healthcare and social security in Costa Rica.
Solis's campaign is based on the following "three pillars:" fighting corruption and strengthening a transparent and efficient state; boosting economic growth and generating more and better jobs; reducing inequality and eradicating extreme poverty.