The governing party’s Carlos Alvarado will be the next president
By Ernesto Ramírez
HAVANA TIMES – Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizen Action Party (PAC) won the second round of the presidential elections on Sunday in Costa Rica with just over 60 percent of the vote, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) reported with 95.58 percent of the votes counted, reported dpa news.
According to the count, Carlos Alvarado, 38, who was executive director of the Social Mixed Institute and Labor Minister in the current government of Luis Guillermo Solis, won 60.74 percent of the votes, while his opponent, the evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado, who had finished first in the first round in February with the National Restoration Party (PRN), garnered 39.26 percent of the votes.
“Today the world turns its gaze towards Costa Rica and Costa Rica launches once again a beautiful democratic message,” said the winning candidate before his followers. He will become the youngest president of the country in the last 124 years. “Well done Costa Rica!”
According to the TSE data, of the 3.3 million registered voters, 66.99 percent went to the polls.
The presidential campaign took place in the midst of a great polarization due to the debate on the rights of homosexuals. The preacher was against marriage between people of the same sex, in vitro fertilization or the application of sexual education in secondary schools, among other topics.
Alvarado, on the other hand, a communicator, political scientist and rock singer, has an opposite view when it comes to equal rights, especially around LGTBI people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex), including the right To marriage.
The winner promised to head “a government for all Costa Rican citizens” and said that his duty will be to unite the country to take it forward.
Shortly after the results were known, his opponent had publicly acknowledged the defeat. “We’re not sad, we’ve made history,” he said as he knelt before hundreds of supporters. “I said I’m never ashamed to love God. Whatever happens, God is the glory, “snapped the 43-year-old journalist, musician and singer of Christian music, considered an ultraconservative and a religious fundamentalist.
The debate had arisen in Costa Rica following a resolution of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which in January ordered all its member states to guarantee the rights of the LGBTI population, including same-sex marriage.
The differences between the two Alvarado catapulted them into the preferences of the electorate, when shortly before the first round both appeared in the polls with no chance of reaching the presidency.
Fabricio Alvarado had won the first round, but without the minimum of 40 percent needed to be elected.
After celebrating his victory, and in statements to the press, Alvarado said he will prepare Costa Rica for the Bicentennial of the country’s independence in 2021. “I will work for a better Costa Rica,” he said.
He added that he already communicated with other political forces to integrate a “national government” and build the Costa Rica of the future.
“This country can and should be a developed country,” he said, and said he hopes to endow the nation with “the best education in Latin America,” advance it in infrastructure, clean energy, and eradicate poverty, which affects more than one million Costa Ricans, by 2022.