COS. Electoral audits and propaganda and political panorama
12 enero 2018
A little more than three weeks before the elections, the Costa Rican state continues with the preparations and expects that around 70,000 people will be monitoring the elections on Sunday, February 4. This team is divided among the members of each polling station, the electoral assistants, those in charge of each voting center, the delegates of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the observers (both national and international) and the representatives of each party.
Among all of them, they will end up constituting the cross-control mechanism characteristic of elections in Costa Rica, as a fundamental piece to guarantee transparency and security in the decision of the more than three million citizens. So far, the Central American country is expecting the visit of 19 external observers -including among these the delegation of the Organisation of American States (OAS) headed by the former Colombian president, Andrés Pastrana.
Broadcast and campaign
Although official data estimates that between all party groups US$2,500 have already been invested in proselytizing communication, it is striking that Otto Guevara (Libertarian Movement) has not yet made any expenditures on this matter. His weak perception in polls – as a result of his connection to the Chinese cement scandal – has prevented him from accessing to loans and has hindered his visibility as a candidate.
In this way, Guevara is relegated to the seventh position in the polls and depends (almost exclusively) on the advertising spaces provided free of charge and on the dissemination via social networks. However, his organisation is not the only one that has not yet allocated funds to these aspects of the campaign: the Workers Party of John Vega and Costa Rican Renewal of Stephanie Campos are in the same situation.
The party and its presidential candidate still do not give up the possibility of being part of the second electoral round. While waiting to collect a significant amount of funds in the remaining days, they consider that there is an important part of the population interested in the same issues as them (greater competition, reform of the State, strong hand against insecurity, tax refusal and union abuses, etc.).
Political panorama
Dissatisfaction of the citizenship with the general situation of the country and the government’s performance – leaded by the president Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera – foresee a punishment vote even stronger than the one in the 2014 elections. The most affected parties if this happens will be the National Action Party (involved in an administration marked by an uncontrollable fiscal deficit) and the National Liberation Party, which has already been punished by citizens in previous elections.
The nation is currently marked by a corrupt culture, which has been spreading for decades and which not only points to the Executive Branch but also to the legislative and judicial spheres. The cement market and the irregularities in the bidding of Chinese cement have been the most recent example of these practices, leaving evidence of influence peddling and abuse of power.
The lack of proposals to get out of this scenario is reflected in the significant percentage of undecided people facing the 4th of February. All of them voters who do not identify with any of the 13 available candidates or any sector linked to the policy. The main characters seem not to change too much and they have been consolidating themselves in the Costa Rican political history for a long time, while the citizens await a change that could not arrive for the next four years.