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  • A group of young Costa Ricans display their identification cards as they prepare to vote in Switzerland. More than three million Costa Ricans, of which 31,864 live abroad, are registered to vote.

    A group of young Costa Ricans display their identification cards as they prepare to vote in Switzerland. More than three million Costa Ricans, of which 31,864 live abroad, are registered to vote. | Photo: Facebook: Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE)

Published 1 April 2018
Opinion

More than 3 million Costa Ricans, of which 31,864 live abroad, are registered to vote to elect the president for the next four years.

4:15 pm Costa Rican Time:  Less than two hours before the polls close, the political parties are trying to convince people to cast their ballots, with the conservative Acción Nacional and Restauración Nacional organizing buses to collect voters from remote areas, reported La Nacion.

3:30 pm Costa Rican Time: Costa Rican Citizens in Toronto, Canada prepare to vote. More than three million Costa Ricans, of which 31,864 live abroad, are registered to vote.

Photo: Facebook: Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Tribunal

2:30 pm Costa Rican Time:  Former presidential candidate of the Workers Party, Jhon Vega, called on citizens to vote null or blank as a form of protest. He says neither of the two candidates represents working people.

"The low turnout was expected, because who won the first round was abstentionism, and this is part of the criticisms we have made to our electoral system that those leading the polls are not the ones that bring the best proposals for the country, today no we are voting for two candidates but for two neoliberal teams that have impoverished the country in recent years, "said Vega. 

According to Vega neither Carlos Alvarado nor Fabricio Alvarado will solve the most fundamental problems in the country. 

"We wanted to polarize that a party defends more human rights, we believe that National Restoration will not defend the most basic rights of the working class, but the PAC in these four years has shown a repressive policy," said Vega.

Former presidential candidate of the Workers Party, Jhon Vega (R), interview by members of the media. @PTCostaRica

"We vote for our rights. We vote for our safety. We vote for our freedom."

Activists dressed in costumes from The Handmaid's Tale stand outside of the polling station where the Presidential candidate of the National Restoration Party (PRN) Fabricio Alvarado Munoz, was due to cast his vote in San Jose. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

A group women voters grabbed headlines when they went out to vote in today's election dressed as characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s famed dystopian novel.

The group released the following statement following their act of protest calling on candidates to focus more on issues impacting the country's women. 

"We face a landscape where the material conditions for women have been a topic neglected by media and most political parties," the group said adding: "Most political proposals towards women have to do with caring for others, and an apparent obligation to reproduce... We protest in favor of a secular state that celebrates all liberties because there’s still a lot of work to do before reaching true equality. We vote for our rights. We vote for our safety. We vote for our freedom."

12:30 pm Costa Rican Time: The Supreme Electoral Tribunal held their second press conference of the day at around 12:30 p.m. The president of the entity, Luis Antonio Sobrado and the Director of the Electoral Registry, Hector Fernández said that the day has normally passed and without any significant incidents.  Up to the time of the press conference, 80 reports had been received from citizens, but officials have deemed them as minor. 


Luis Antonio Sobrado (R), President of Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), with Héctor Fernández, the TSE's Electoral Registry Director, at the body's headquarters in San José. Twitter: @TSECostaRica
 

12:10 pm Costa Rican Time: Surrounded by his followers and members of his campaign team, Carlos Alvarado Quesada voted at the Carlos Sanabria Mora School in Pavas District in San José Canton. Alvarado Quesada said he was pleased with the support he has received from his followers and said he is hopeful to lead Costa Rica. Alvarado Quesada was accompanied by his candidate for Vice President Epsy Campbell and his wife Claudia Dobles.

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a presidential candidate of the ruling Citizens' Action Party (PAC), holds up his ballot during the presidential election, at a polling station in San Jose, Costa Rica. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

11:30 am Costa Rican Time: Presidential candidate of the National Restoration Party (PRN) Fabricio Alvarado Munoz, cast his ballot in front member of the media after at the Joaquín García Monge School in San Jose, Costa Rica. He arrived and left the building to a tremendous show of support with several of those gathered shouting the slogan "Fabricio Presidente!"

Fabricio Alvarado Munoz cast his vote during the presidential election in San Jose, Costa Rica, April 1, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Fabricio Alvarado Munoz, an evangelical preacher and candidate from the National Restoration Party (PRN), and Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a former journalist and political scientist from the ruling center-left Citizen Action Party (PAC), are facing off in the tight presidential race Sunday dominated by the debate on gender diversity.

The most recent poll by the University of Costa Rica shows the candidates are in a virtual tie with Alvarado Munoz and Alvarado Quesada having captured 43 and 42 percent of the support of likely voters respectively. The one-point lead is within the poll’s margin of error and electoral polls have a patchy record in Costa Rica with most having misread the 2014 election.

An activist dressed in a costume from The Handmaid's Tale series prepares to cast a ballot during the presidential election, at a polling station in San Jose, Costa Rica, April 1, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

10:19 am Costa Rican Time: Rodolfo Piza Rocafort, of the Social Christian Unity Party, who was fourth in the first round of the election with 15.99 percent voted a short while ago.  He pledged his support for Carlos Alvarado Quesada in an agreement in early March.

 

9:58 am Costa Rican Time: A group of young Costa Ricans displays their identification cards as they prepare to vote in Switzerland. More than three million Costa Ricans, of which 31,864 live abroad, are registered to vote. 

A group of young Costa Ricans displays their identification cards as they prepare to vote in Switzerland. More than three million Costa Ricans, of which 31,864 live abroad, are registered to vote. Twitter: @TSECostaRica

9:45 am Costa Rican Time: Luis Antonio Sobrado, President of Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), called on citizens to respect the outcome of today's vote during a press conference host by TSE shortly before 10:00 a.m. Sunday. Sobrado also called on presidential candidates to respect polling rules so that the day will go by with " an atmosphere of tranquility and respect."

Luis Antonio Sobrado (R), President of Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), with Héctor Fernández, the TSE's Electoral Registry Director, at the body's headquarters in San José. Twitter: @TSECostaRica

9:30 am Costa Rican Time: José María Figueres, who served as Costa Rica's President between 1994 and 1998, says he voted for Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the presidential candidate for the Citizen Action Party. Figueres made the comment while speaking to the media at the San Cristóbal Sur in Desamparados. 

"I would never have wanted to be in an election where the National Liberation is not present on the ballot. Today I voted for Costa Rica, I voted for Carlos Alvarado, " he said as he indicated that the National Liberation Party (PLN) would not contest ballot, which excluded Antonio Álvarez Desanti as a candidate in the first round. 

He added: "He  (Carlos Alvarado) is the person who can assemble a team of different political parties to move this country forward." 

José María Figueres, who served as Costa Rica's President between 1994 and 1998, speaks to members of the Costa Rican media. Image: Teletica

8:30 am Costa Rican Time: Luis Guillermo Solís, Costa Rica's incumbent President, casted his vote on Election Day at Colegio México in Barrio Aranjuez, San José.  Solís was accompanied by his wife Mercedes Peñas and other members of his family. 

He said: "It is a good time to unite as one country. We must make an effort to fulfill this civic activity on this final day of an electoral process," adding "this is a country that should be united, it has been an intense campaign but once this is over it is a time of reconciliation and giving us a hand to move forward and seek the welfare of all."

Luis Guillermo Solís, Costa Rica's incumbent President, with his partner Mercedes Peñas at Colegio México in Barrio Aranjuez, San José. Twitter: @LuisGuillermoSR

6:00 am Costa Rican Time: Costa Ricans began voting at 6:00 am Sunday in the country's closest presidential elections for several decades. The second round of Costa Rica's polls will determine whether Fabricio Alvarado Munoz or Carlos Alvarado Quesada – no relation – will become the new president.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), which will oversee the vote at more than 6 thousand polling stations (JRV) throughout the country, reports a smooth start to the polling process. 

More than three million Costa Ricans, of which 31,864 live abroad, are registered to vote to elect the president for the next four years. However, there was an abstention rate of 35.34 percent in the preliminary round. Results from the vote are expected late Sunday or early Monday, given the size of the electorate.

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