Costa Rica Looks Towards The Second Electoral Round

Costa Rica began on Monday the road to the second round of elections on April 3, with calls from the candidates to give priority to solving the country’s economic problems, such as unemployment and poverty.

With 88% of the tables counted, the preliminary results of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) indicate that the former president (1994-1998) José María Figueres Olsen, of the National Liberation Party (PLN), obtains 27.6% of the votes, followed by the economist Rodrigo Chaves, from the Social Democratic Progress Party (PSD), who adds 16.70%.

These two are the ones who obtained the most support from the 25 candidates registered in the process and therefore will contest the second electoral round.

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This will be the third consecutive occasion and the fourth in history that the country needs a second round.

The candidates

On this occasion, the second round will face a new politician like Chaves with one recognized from the country’s oldest party and son of José Figueres Ferrer, the most prominent political figure in the country’s recent history, who abolished the Army in 1948 after winning the last civil war in Costa Rica.

During this Monday, José María Figueres Olsen has dedicated himself to giving interviews to television channels and private activities with his team, while Chaves also visited television media and offered a press conference.

“I have called for a second round of height and discussion of ideas because that is what the people need. A job to lower the cost of living, which in this country is excessive as a result of public policies and needs to start cancer of the corruption,” Chaves stressed at a press conference.

The economist, Minister of Finance for six months between 2019 and 2020 and who has developed most of his career at the World Bank, said that if he reaches the Presidency his first decree will be focused on lowering the cost of living.

“I have studied the administration, most of the portfolios and also the financial statements, we will start with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) and we have a team that knows what is going on (… ) We can lower the cost of living by changing the public policies that small groups have manipulated to benefit at the expense of Costa Ricans,” said Chaves.

The candidate, who based his campaign on criticizing traditional parties and recent governments, stated that there are certain sectors that benefit from privileges, such as medicine, agrochemicals, electricity and rice.

For his part, Figueres told local media that his proposal aims to “rescue” Costa Rica from the bad economic policies that, he believes, have been used by the last two governments of the center-left Citizen Action Party.

Both candidates lamented Sunday’s historic abstention rate, which reached 40.29%, and said that their campaigns for the second round will focus on proposing solutions for people who have been forgotten by recent governments.

They have also said that they will work to reduce unemployment, which stands at 14% and poverty at 26%, as well as to make the State more efficient.

The coup against the ruling party

This Sunday’s elections also meant a heavy blow to the ruling Citizen Action Party (PAC), which after two consecutive administrations (2014-2018 and 2018-2022) obtained just 0.66% of the vote and no deputies in Congress.

This is the worst result for a government party in the country’s recent history.

The presidential candidate of the center-left PAC, deputy and economist Welmer Ramos, said that this 2022 electoral process was “atypical” and complained about the little funding he had to present his ideas, to which was added “a lot of causes complex that should be the object of extensive reflection”.

“This result is unfortunate, it must be said and accepted,” said Ramos after accepting the results of Sunday’s elections.

The politician said that the PAC has faced a Congress “brutally against” and assured that the party “continues to be necessary for Costa Rica”, so it must “reflect and regroup.”

Reliable, trustworthy and easy. Multimedia news agency in Spanish.

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