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    Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solis enters his polling station during municipal elections, San Jose, Costa Rica Feb. 7, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 February 2016

Electoral authorities estimated that turnout was at 65 percent.

Costa Rica’s National Liberation Party won 47 of the 81 contested municipalities during local elections, while the governing Citizen Action Party only managed to win in six.

Preliminary results presented by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal show that the National Liberation Party ranked first on election day gaining 47 mayors, followed by the Social Christian Unity Party with 16.

In third place was the Citizen Action Party, with only six municipalities, the same number of municipalities won during the elections of 2010. The remaining municipalities were won by smaller parties.

Despite high abstention rates, authorities estimated that turnout 65 percent, although it may vary on Tuesday with increased scrutiny at the figures.

National Liberation Party president, Jose Maria Figueres said at a news conference he was "quite happy" after the results issued by the electoral tribunal.

Meanwhile, former presidential candidate, Johnny Araya, with the Alliance for San Jose Party was elected as mayor of San Jose, with a total of 40.5 of the votes.

About 3.2 million Costa Rican registered voters, and 53,000 foreign nationals, went to the polls to elect 81 new mayors and 6,000 locally elected officials in elections that have many people observing with great expectation.

This will be the first elections since the country changed its electoral laws, holding municipal elections mid-way through the presidential terms instead of the same year, in order to draw in more voters.

While Costa Ricans flock to the polls in high numbers when it comes to federal elections, past municipal elections had very low voter turnouts.

In 2010, only 20 percent of registered voters went to the polls to cast their ballot, but the municipal elections of 2014 had a 70 percent participation rate, and with the new electoral laws, authorities are hoping to maintain these numbers.

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