Home Financial Record Costa Ricans vote for record number of presidential candidates

Costa Ricans vote for record number of presidential candidates


SAN JOSE, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Costa Ricans began voting in an election on Sunday with a record 25 candidates vying to succeed incumbent President Carlos Alvarado, but the vote is unlikely to produce an outright winner and a second round is scheduled for April.

No candidate, including former president Jose Maria Figueres, is expected to win more than 40% of the vote, the threshold to avoid a second round between the first two voters, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Center for Studies of the University of Costa Rica. Research and political studies. The 57 seats in the unicameral Legislative Assembly are also up for grabs.

Costa Ricans have said they want their next leader to tackle corruption and high unemployment rates during the four-year term.

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Costa Rica’s Electoral Court reported that voting was going smoothly across the country.

In the capital San Jose, queues were short on Sunday morning.

Enrique Romero, a 52-year-old construction worker, said he would vote for Figueres.

“I want things to get better, for the government to work better,” Romero said. “The situation is critical. It’s not about going back but moving forward and learning from the experience.”

Figueres, who ruled from 1994 to 1998 under the centrist National Liberation Party, held a tentative lead in the opinion polls with around 17% of the vote.

The race to replace centre-left Alvarado after his four-year tenure is wide open. Alvarado cannot run for a second consecutive term.

According to opinion polls, around a third of voters in the Central American country of around 5 million people had not yet decided who to support ahead of the election.

Victor Morales, a 56-year-old flag seller, was one of those undecided Costa Ricans.

“My business went down because of the bad governments we had,” Morales said. “Before, people gathered to support political parties.”

Rosemary Chaves, owner of a small grocery store in Puntarenas, the most populous city in the Costa Rican Pacific, also said that while there were many names on the ballot, none had credible proposals to fight the unemployment.

“A lot of people are upset,” Chaves said.

The ruling centre-left Citizen Action Party (PAC), which has been in power for two terms, received less than 1% support in the Center for Research and Policy Studies poll.

The National Assembly must, among other responsibilities, negotiate significant financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In the poll, former conservative vice-president Lineth Saborio (2002-2006) of the centre-right Christian Social Unity (PUSC) party had 13% support and evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado of the neo-Pentecostal New Republic party. had 10%.

Polling stations are due to close at 6:00 p.m. local time (00:00 GMT Monday) and the first report from the national electoral authority is due at 8:45 p.m. (02:45 GMT Monday).

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Reporting by Alvaro Murillo in San Jose; Additional reporting by Diego Ore; Written by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Will Dunham and Aurora Ellis

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