Chinchilla, first woman to win presidency
Laura Chinchilla, the ruling party candidate in Sunday's poll, joined thousands of supporters to celebrate victory Monday after first results showed she has won 47 per cent of the votes counted. This is well above the 40 per cent needed to avoid a run-off.
Centre-left opposition candidate Otto Solis won 24 per cent of the votes and right-wing lawyer Otto Guevara garnered 21 per cent. The abstention rate was around 33 per cent.
Chinchilla was one of two vice-presidents under outgoing President Oscar Arias. She is expected to continue the ruling National Liberation Party’s policies of promoting free trade and international business ties.
She also previously held the posts of public security minister and justice minister.
The 50-year-old mother of a teenage son has pledged to increase grants for poor students, expand pensions for the poor and open daycare centres for working mothers.
The campaign was dominated by public concern over increasing crime. Chinchilla has promised tougher measures but stressed the need to act ‘intelligently’ against crime caused by social inequalities.
Some 2.8 million Costa Ricans were eligible to vote for a new president, two vice presidents, as well as 57 lawmakers and municipal leaders.
Laura Chinchella, who takes office on 8 May, becomes the fifth female president in Latin America – following women being elected to this post in Chile, Argentina, Panama and Nicaragua.