The candidate of the ruling party Partido de Acción Ciudadana (PAC), Carlos Alvarado, obtained 60.74% of votes and won over evangelist preacher of Partido de Restauración Nacional (PRN), Fabricio Alvarado, who only obtained 39.26% of the votes. The results designate Carlos Alvarado as the successor of Luis Guillermo Solís. The a participation level on Sunday, April 1st, was higher than expected (66.99%) but also the abstention rate was more than 30 points.
The results correspond to the latest data uploaded by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Costa Rica (TSE), up to 95.58% of the ballots counted. The difference of more than 450.000 votes was overwhelming and proved that the polls of the last weeks were not accurate, supposing a victory of the conservative PRN (OPol Consultores) or assuring -as maximum- the possibility of a technical tie (CIEP – Costa Rica university). Religion was a key aspect of the entire political campaign after the first round, which polarized the citizens around debates like abortion, same sex marriage and the more conservative values of Costa Rican society.
Carlos Alvarado will take office May 8th, becoming the youngest president of Latin America. The PAC will only have 10 deputies, compared to the 14 seats obtained by the PRN and the 17 ones of the Partido de Liberación Nacional (new majority fraction over a total of seven for the next four-year period). For this reason, both the winner and loser of these elections were willing to form a national government, focused on what unites the Costa Rican people and with the offer of Fabricio Alvarado (as an opponent) to collaborate in the future growth of the country.
The ruling party and also former minister of the current government will face several challenges during his term. Resolving the current fiscal deficit is one of the main priorities, together with a series of payment obligations that exceed one third of the debt acquired by the country. Restructuring and strengthening public finances, through delayed tax and budgetary measures, is an issue that can not be delayed until later on, thinking about economic growth and the reform of the pension system. Once these problems are over, Carlos Alvarado will be able to focus on other issues that were central to the campaign such as equal marriage or the regulatory reform of abortion. He will also have the possibility to celebrate the bicentennial of independence during the last year of his mandate.
There are four extra issues that have to be taken into account. First, state the broad victory of the PAC in most of the provinces, with the exception of Limón and Puntarenas. Second, the way in which the support between Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado was divided into the remaining parties that did not participate in the ballotage, although now the intention to build a country as a whole is generalized. Third, the high level of abstention (1/3 ofi The population), which was key for PAC’s success. And fourth, a minority women’s movement in clear opposition to the conservative ideas of the PRN, were dressed as the main characters of a tv show to show their concern about the religious fundamentalist threat that represented Fabricio Alvarado. They showded how women’s rights would be if Fabricio won the elections.