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News > Latin America

Costa Rica Update: José Figueres Leads Vote in Costa Rica

  • A girl holds a flag as political party supporters celebrate after the closing of polling stations in the presidential elections today, in San Jose, Costa Rica. Feb. 06, 2022.

    A girl holds a flag as political party supporters celebrate after the closing of polling stations in the presidential elections today, in San Jose, Costa Rica. Feb. 06, 2022. | Photo: EFE/ Bienvenido Velasco

Published 6 February 2022

Polling stations have closed in Costa Rica, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) indicated that results of the Costa Rican presidential will be annouced as of 8:45 p.m. (local time). José Figueres leads vote in Costa Rica with 30.29% of the vote so far.

On Sunday around 3.5 million Costa Ricans were called to participate in the 2022 general elections. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) indicated that results of the Costa Rican presidential will be annouced as of 8:45 p.m. (local time). José Figueres leads vote in Costa Rica with 30.29% of the vote so far.


Costa Rica Welcomes OAS Observers To Partake In Elections

20:45 p.m. TSE Announces Preliminary Results. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) informed in a formal session the preliminary results of the Costa Rican presidential elections, they are as follows:

First cut-off:
Tables counted: 923 (13.48%)
Participation 55.04%. 
Abstentionism: 44.96%.

National Liberation Party (PLN): 46,316 votes - 30.29%.

New Republic (PNR): 27,417 votes - 17.93%.

Social Democratic Progress (PSD): 23,785 votes - 15.56%.

Social Christian Unity PUSC: 22,894 votes - 14.97%.

Frente Amplío (FA): 10,113 votes - 6.61%

With 13.48% of polls reporting, José María Figueres Olsen of the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) is ahead with a commanding lead of 30.29 percent, followed by Fabricio Alvarado, of the New Republic Party with 17.93 percent.

20:00 p.m. TSE to Announce Results. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) indicated that results of the Costa Rican presidential and parliamentary will be annouced as of 8:45 p.m. (local time).

18:00 p.m. Closing of polling stations begins. Polling stations have begun to close in Costa Rica, however, authorities confirm that polling centers will remain open until there are no voters in line. 

16:00 p.m. Electoral Authorities Highlight Fluidity. The electoral authorities of Costa Rica highlighted the fluidity and tranquility that characterized this Sunday, the first half of the electoral day that the country is experiencing, where the presidential and legislative authorities for the period 2022-2026 are being voted for.

"All the activities of the political parties continue their normal course, except for some small incidences of different types, the day passes normally, and we still continue in most of the voting centers with a very important affluence of voters," informed in a press conference the magistrate Eugenia Zamora, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).

15:00 p.m. Polls Indicate a Scattered Pattern in Voting Intention. As voting continues in Costa Rica, political analysts and polls indicate a scattered pattern in voting intention. A poll conducted by the University of Costa Rica puts veteran politician José María Figueres as the favorite on 17 percent of the vote, he is followed by former Vice President Lineth Saborío with 12.9 percent, and 2018s runner-up Fabricio Alvarado on 10.3 percent.

Costa Rican political analyst, María José Cascante, expressed that the scattered voting intention emerged in 1998, as voting participation decreased due to the emergence of the Traditional Parties during bipartidism in Costa Rica, such as the National Liberation Party and the Social Christian Party. The rampant corruption during the 1990s produced new parties, thus confusing the electorate to this day.

María José described these elections as a calm but “a very superficial campaign” that does not focus on the realties in Costa Rica, as core issues such as growing inequalities, the handling of the pandemic and a diminishing middle class are not being discussed. Instead, the focus is on the reduction of the State, with emphasis on the inefficiencies of public institutions and are more concerned with religion and cultural polarization.   

12:05 p.m. Ex-President Oscar Arias will not vote. Costa Rica's former President Oscar Arias Sanchez, who held power (1986-1990, 2006-2010), announced that he will not vote due to medical advice.

“In all my life, I have never stopped voting to elect our rulers. However, at the age of 81, I decided not to vote with deep regret… my doctor advised me not to do so since I have acute inflammatory bronchitis with phlegm and a cough.”

Currently, the former President's brother Rodrigo Arias is a candidate for lawmaker for the National Liberation Party (PLN).

10:40 a.m. International observers monitor elections. Costa Rican authorities reported that a group of international observers watched the opening of the polling stations at the Luis Dobles Segreda High School.

“The mission had the opportunity to observe the opening of the tables, which occurred in an orderly manner as established by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. It is an authentic civic festival in which all social groups, authorities, and observers take part,” the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) Director Pedro Fonseca, said from the Pavas Lyceum voting center in San Jose City.

8:30 a.m. Candidate Villalta is confident in his victory. The Broad Front (FA) presidential candidate Jose Maria Villalta invited citizens to go out and vote and not stay at home. From the FA campaign center in San Jose, he expressed his confidence that the Costa Rican left will be victorious.

“I think we are going to win. I think we will give a huge surprise… I trust the work of the electoral tribunal. We are going to await the outcome of the elections with full respect for the democratic process,” he said.

7:20 a.m. Candidate Figueres casts his vote. The National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate Jose Maria Figueres voted in a school near his family's farm in La Lucha. When he left the electoral precinct, he told the citizens, "Let's decide this in a first round."

Although his party is the most traditional political organization in Costa Rica, Figueres has failed to capture more than 20 percent of electoral support, according to the latest polls. To be elected in the first round, he would need over 40 percent of the valid votes.

6:46 a.m. Citizens began going to polling stations to vote. Authorities control that Costa Ricans comply with health regulations such as the mandatory use of a mask, hand washing or application of alcohol to the hands, and keeping social distance. One of the first to vote was President Carlos Alvarado who affirmed that Costa Rica has "the strongest democracy in the world."

Background information

The electoral process in the Costa Rican territory began at 06:00 local time and will end at 18:00 with the opening of the Vote Receiving Boards (JRV). The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) indicated that 6,847 JRVs are distributed in 2,152 polling stations, where 18,000 officials will work for the normal development of the elections.

The first official results are expected to be issued at 8:45 pm (local time). Since early Saturday morning, over 50,000 Costa Ricans residing abroad began to vote in 80 pooling stations, arranged in 42 countries, among which are Jakarta, Indonesia, and Australia.

The TSE President Eugenia Zamora mentioned that the presence of 21 presidential candidates is unprecedented in the country's history. If none of them gets 40 percent of the votes, the two presidential candidates with the most votes will participate in a second round of elections on April 3. The winner will assume the Costa Rican presidency on May 8.

Unlike most Central American countries, Costa Rica has enjoyed democratic stability, absence of armed conflicts, and dictatorships since 1919. Satisfaction with its political system has been a characteristic of several generations.

Currently, however, the polls show that 31.8 percent of Costa Ricans have not yet decided who to vote for and the majority of citizens distrust their political class and fear losing the political system built over the last century.

“The uncertainty about the relationship between the state model and the society model divides a lot. We face a choice between a model with less State participation and a model where the State plays an important role. We face the election with very large fractures within our vision of society... This generates anxiety, fear, and uncertainty,” Carlos Cascante, a professor at the National University of Costa Rica, told Radio France International.

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