Costa Rican Election Sunday: Who is the New President?

The Story:

The voters in Costa Rico, a Central American republic, cast their ballots for President last weekend as between two candidates for President, Jose Maria Figueres and Rodrigo Chaves Robles. This was a run-off election, because, although they were the two highest vote getters in the first round of voting in February, in the crowded field neither of them received more than 40% of the vote.


Chavez was the country’s minister of finance for seven months during the presidency of Carlos Alvarado Quesada. He resigned in May 2020 as a result of a dispute with the President over how to finance a fund for those affected by the pandemic and by the measures taken to limit contagion.

Jose Maria Figueres was President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998, In 2010-12, he was president of the Carbon War Room, a non-profit that seeks to advance the world’s transition to a low-emissions economy. He received more votes than did Chavez in the first round.

Both men have degrees from U.S. universities. Both are, broadly speaking, centrist candidates.

The Thing to Know:

Chavez prevailed with roughly 53% of the vote. Many observers believe that the new President-elect won due to concern over rampant corruption in the country. His party is a newly formed one, the Social Democratic Progress Party. Its newness means that it is untainted by corruption scandals.


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