Costa Rica will need a second round on April 3 after a close first round this Sunday won by former president José María Figueres, followed by the economist Rodrigo Chaves, who became the great surprise of these elections.
Elections in Costa Rica: the country is at stake to maintain its social stability
Costa Rica goes to the polls with an unprecedented 25 presidential candidates
With 63.9 percent of the tables counted, Figueres, former president between 1994 and 1998, obtained 27.4 percent of the votes, while Chaves has 16.7 percent, and the evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado adds 15.4 percent, according to the results of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).
The abstentionism reaches 40.7 percent, which would be the highest number in the history of the country.
The TSE will stop publishing the preliminary results on Monday and starting next Tuesday the final count will begin, in order to provide an official declaration of results in the coming days.
What is certain is that there will be a second round on April 3, since none of the candidates reached the 40 percent necessary to succeed this Sunday.
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Figures from the National Liberation Party (PLN) are seen outside the
headquarters of the Figueres campaign in San José, Costa Rica.
For the third consecutive election, Costa Rica will need a second electoral round to choose the president. Figueres declared himself the winner of the first round “by a robust margin” and thanked Costa Ricans for supporting his project to “lead the rescue and transformation of our Costa Rica.”
These votes have been characterized by the discouragement of the population amid the economic problems hitting the country and accusations of corruption, which has resulted in an abstention rate of more than 40 percent, considered the highest in the country’s history.
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The candidate and former president José María Figueres
Figueres , of the National Liberation Party (PLN), began to lead the count from the first bulletins issued.
“Today was an enormous triumph for our democracy. Today Costa Rica won, nor did the pandemic break the civic spirit of our people. The responsibility of moving our country forward was stronger. Today we shine again in the world“, declared Figueres.
The 67-year-old candidate criticized the “improvisation” of recent governments and assured that he will work so that Costa Rica “has a government again.”
Figueres is former president of Costa Rica (1994-1998) and presidential candidate for the National Liberation Party.
The economist Rodrigo Chaves
For his On the other hand, Chaves, 60 years old and from the Social Democratic Progress Party, celebrated his passage to the second round and thanked his family and the voters for giving their support to a new party: “We are going to a second round, yes, the new party , the youngest in this campaign, but we are going to leave behind the fires, the conflict, the sterile confrontation, and I beg you to work together to create consensus to reorient the course of the country and relaunch prosperity,” Chaves declared in a speech.
The candidate, who became the surprise of these elections, thanked the voters for their support in what was “a democratic civic festival such as few nations in the world can afford.”
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“Our challenges as a country and a society are enormous and we need a new strong and united government to move forward together in the face of the challenges and enormous promises that this blessed country has. We are going to move forward and we are going to turn out well“, he assured.
Chaves promised initiatives to improve the country’s economy and promised that if he reaches the government he will govern with justice for the entire population. The electoral process this Sunday was carried out calmly and without serious irregularities, according to the electoral authorities.
Former Costa Rican Finance Minister and presidential candidate Rodrigo Chaves, votes during the general elections at the Liceo Napoleón Quesada school, in San José.
Electoral Day in Costa Rica
The 6,767 ballot boxes located in the country closed at 6:00 pm local time (7:00 pm Colombia time) on Sunday after a 12-hour election day.
A record number of 25 presidential candidates participated in the elections this Sunday and 3.5 million were called to vote of people to elect the president and the 57 deputies that make up the Legislative Assembly for the period 2022-2026.
All the candidates recognized the results issued so far by the electoral court. The OAS Electoral Observer Mission highlighted that during the day there was order and confidence among the actors in the country’s electoral process and that by mid-day they had received no reports of irregularities.
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Known for being one of the countries with the most most stable countries in Latin America and the first Latin American country in the 2018-2020 global happiness ranking, Costa Rica’s reputation is overshadowed by a severe financial and social crisis.
The task of confronting it will be in the hands of the next ruler. Unemployment (14.4 percent in 2021), poverty (23 percent in 2021) and an economy with a public debt equivalent to 70 percent of GDP set off the alarms of multilateral organizations.
The situation worsened with the covid-19 pandemic that hit tourism hard since the beginning of 2020, one of its main engines.
Figueres, at the head of the vote, governed Costa Rica between 1994-1998 and is the son of the emblematic former president José Figueres Ferrer, who abolished the Army in 1948.
Supporters of political parties celebrate after the polls close in the presidential elections this Sunday, in San José.