Elections in Costa Rica: the Pro-government Candidate Carlos Alvarado Quesada Wins the Presidency in Elections Marked by Debates Around Religion and Equal Marriage

Elections in Costa Rica: The presidential candidate Carlos Alvarado Quesada won on Sunday the presidency of Costa Rica, in an election race that exposed deep divisions in the country around religion and homosexual marriage.

According to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the representative of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) won more than 60% of the votes, compared to 39% of his opponent, the evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado, of National Restoration.

With almost 96% of the polling tables counted, the electoral body registered a participation of 67.03%, very far from the forecasts that predicted a high level of abstention.

“My duty will be to unite this Republic to take it forward, a united nation that shines among the nations,” the winner wrote in a series of this after learning the results.

“We have to carry out a great task of taking the country forward and it is time,” he added.

A little before, Fabricio Alvarado acknowledged his defeat.

“I congratulate Carlos Alvarado, once I gave the results of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, I called him, I gave him my congratulations and I told him that he can count on us to walk the Costa Rica that we all love.” I send my respect and my love “, he claimed.

Second round

The Costa Ricans elected their president in the second round, between a religious leader, defender of a conservative position, and a former government minister, now the winner, over whom he weighed to be a candidate for a political party accused of corruption.

It was the third time in history that Costa Rica needed to go to a second round to elect its president.

And, according to the polls, a few months after the first round last February, no candidate was emerging as a favorite and none convinced beyond their training.

The doubts led to 13 parties presenting their proposals, but the high number also meant a dispersion of voting intentions during that first round.

Then, the candidate of the National Restoration Party, placed at the head of the vote with 24.78% of the vote, compared to 21.74% of the representative of Citizen Action.

But to win the presidency, a minimum of 40% of the votes is required.

Who is Carlos Alvarado

This politician born in 1980 barely has four years of experience in public office.

Journalist of training, he served as the advisor to the PAC faction in the Legislative Assembly between 2006 and 2010.

Then he went to the Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom; from there, he held a management position in Procter & Gamble Latin America and was the director of the campaign of the now outgoing president.

It was he who gave him the opportunity to premiere in politics at the beginning of this government when he was appointed the executive president of the Mixed Institute of Social Assistance (IMAS).

He was also Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion and two years later was in charge of the Labor portfolio, since he left in early 2017 to register as a candidate in the internal convention of his party and win comfortably.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in Collective Communication and a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Costa Rica, she holds a master’s degree in development studies from the University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom, and has published a compilation of stories and three novels.

As a presidential candidate, he had to face criticism against his party for the “cementazo” or case of the Chinese cement, the most notorious corruption scandal in the country, which was forged during the current government and sprinkles officials of the three powers.

Meanwhile, its supporters recognize the social, educational and environmental proposals, but especially its position in favor of the union of people of the same sex be legally considered marriage.

The equal marriage

The normal course of the electoral process underwent a change last January when the opinion of a consultation made to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights changed the entire electoral landscape.

The debates would not focus thereafter on issues such as the growing fiscal deficit, record crime and persistent poverty in the Central American country, but around the failure.

The consultation validated same-sex unions for the member states of the Court, which would de facto force the Costa Rican government to allow this type of unions.

And in Costa Rica, a country with a majority Catholic and conservative population, public opinion was divided, the most vocal wing was alarmed and the candidates found in the ruling a door to enter the most intolerant sector of society.

Fabricio Alvarado took advantage of his gifts as a preacher and his influence among religious communities to win over the most radical sector of Costa Rican conservatism.

He assured that he would disregard the opinion of the Court, which very soon placed him among the favorites.

He charged his speech against the right of people of the same sex to join legally, what he called the “gender dictatorship”, and against homosexuality, which he considered a “deviation”.

The rise of the conservatives also gave impetus to Carlos Alvarado, a 38-year-old former minister and close ally of center-left president Luis Guillermo Solis, who was regaining ground despite the disenchantment of its bases for corruption cases that splashed the Executive.

The official candidate opted to make his speech more conservative and promise stability and experience for his government, although he was also more open to unions of the same sex, which won him the rejection of the more traditional sector.

A total of 3.3 million Costa Ricans were summoned this Sunday to the polls to elect the president.

The outgoing president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, will end his government on May 8.

 

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