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News > Latin America

Costa Rica Bans Evangelical Priests From Picking Candidates

  • San José's achbishop (Costa Rica), José Rafael Quirós.

    San José's achbishop (Costa Rica), José Rafael Quirós.

Published 25 January 2018

Costa Rica's general election is scheduled to take place on Feb. 4. 

Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Tribunal, or TSE, requested protestant authorities on Wednesday not to express any preference for one party or another, as an evangelical candidate is running for the coming presidential elections.

What You Need to Know About Costa Rica's Elections

The ruling asked the National Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica and the Costarican Federation of the Evangelical Alliance to ban their priests and pastors to use their position in order to influence the vote of their believers, implicitly or explicitly.

The sentence responded to a request presented on Jan. 22, as well as over 80 citizen complaints filed over the weekend against Christian parties, and a dozen against the evangelical candidate Fabricio Alvaro.

Alvaro denied the accusations, affirming his party Evangelical National Restoration had always complied with the electoral law.

The TSE added that an investigation had been opened and reviewing each complaint and testimonies.

The representative of the Evangelical National Restoration party, Alvarado, has received increased support lately from the Costa Rican people according to a recent poll.

Within the course of a month the candidate rose from three percent to 17, as the public warms up to his conservative and homophobic views.

According to researchers, Alvarado’s rise to popularity may have been a “religious shock” in reaction to the Inter American Court of Human Rights’ recent decision to legalized same-sex marriage.

Though recognized by Western countries as a democracy, Costa Rican law forbids its president from using her or his position to influence elections, requiring the head of state to renounce the party that secured their seat in the government. Hence, an electoral blackout is imposed on the executive branch, as well as all public institutions to prevent the party in power from self-promotion. Only urgent, public service news transmissions are allowed, according to The Tico Times.

Legislators, on the other hand, are permitted to rally behind their preferred candidates, bearing that public funds are not used to do so.

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