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The presidency will be contested between the son of a political leader who ruled the country three times and a former World Bank official who is an expert in orthodox policies.
According to data from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) available on Monday morning, the candidate of the National Liberation Party (PLN) Jose Maria Figueres obtained 448,178 votes (27.29 percent) in the presidential elections held in Costa Rica on Sunday. This result corresponds to 79.96 percent of the tables counted.
In second place is the Social Democratic Progress Party (PSD) candidate Rodrigo Chaves with 273,588 votes (16.66 percent) and in third place is Fabricio Alvarado, a pastor who participated sponsored by the New Republic Party (PNR) and obtained 245,087 votes ( 17.93 percent). If trends continue in this direction, the PLN and the PSD will dispute the presidency of the republic in the second round to be held on April 3.
The 67-year-old politician Figueres, who already held the presidency of Costa Rica between 1994 and 1998, is the son of Jose Figueres Ferrer, the PLN founder who was also president of this Central American country three times (1948-1949, 1953-1958, and 1970-1974). The current presidential candidate graduated in industrial engineering from West Point and began his political activity in 1988.
During his previous mandate, Figueres created a payment system for environmental services, promoted ecotourism, and facilitated Intel's entry into Costa Rica. However, his management was also surrounded by controversy due to the closure of Banco Anglo and the railway. His political career was also involved in a scandal related to an influence peddling case in which Figueres was accused of receiving US$900,000 for advice to the Alcatel company between 2000 and 2003.
Elections in Costa Rica: the cracks that show the crisis of its welfare economy and that are key in the presidential elections https://t.co/uqym0843JE
On the other hand, the economist Rodrigo Chaves became a political surprise. According to polls taken before Sunday, he had managed to obtain only 5 percent of electoral support. In the effective count of citizen support, however, Chaves reached enough votes to place him in the second round.
Besides having been Finance Minister between December 2019 and May 2020, Chaves was director for Indonesia of the World Bank (WB), an institution where he worked for over 20 years in positions related to poverty reduction, public sector reform, and economic management for Latin America.
During the campaign, his opponents criticized him for not revealing the names of those who financed his political activities and for a sanction the WB imposed on him for sexual harassment of two women. Regarding the latter, he said that it was all a "misunderstanding" due to "jokes" and "pranks" and that he was acquitted of the complaints against him.