Costa Rica headed to polls in crowded presidential field


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Costa Rica is headed for an election Sunday to choose its next president.

A total of 25 candidates are competing for the nation’s top spot with an electorate that is undecided.

Former President Jose Maria Figueres of the National Liberation Party is leading in surveys with 17% of the vote. He is followed by conservative Lineth Saborio of the Social Christian Unity Party with 13% and evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado of the New Republic party has 10%.

Despite a large number of candidates, relatively few are positioned as the favorite.

According to the latest University of Costa Rica survey published on Jan. 26, there is no overwhelming favorite, making it highly likely that the country will hold a second round on April 3 between the top two vote-getters.

A candidate is required to have at least 40% of the vote to avoid a run-off.

And it appears that voters that are undecided will determine the results. Undecided voters make up 41% of the electorate, according to the survey.

President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of the Citizen Action Party is not running because the country’s constitution does not allow re-election.

Alvarado will leave office with an approval rating below 15% because of economic problems stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, including unemployment levels that have soared.

The economy is heavily dependent on tourism that has been hit hard by the pandemic and experiencing a slow road to recovery.

More than 3.5 million people in the country are eligible to vote.

The winner will take office for the 2022-2026 term on May 8.

The Central American country will also vote to renew its 57-seat unicameral Legislative Assembly.


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