Economist Rodrigo Chaves elected president of Costa Rica | Election News

The former right-wing finance minister beat out former President Jose Maria Figueres to the centrist amid low voter turnout.

Economist Rodrigo Chaves, a former right-wing finance minister, won the presidential election in Costa Rica amid rising unemployment and soaring budget deficits.

Chaves who goes up running water race surprised many, won comfortably with 53% of the vote to 47% of former center-right President Jose Maria Figueres, the Supreme Electoral Court said on Sunday.

He delivered a victory speech shortly after Figueres, who served as president from 1994 to 1998, conceded defeat.

Chaves, who will take office on May 8, said: “For me, this is not a medal or a title, but a huge responsibility, with countless challenges and difficulties that all We’ll both deal with it.”

“Costa Rica, it’s best to come!” Chaves said before celebrating supporters.

However, more than 42 percent of the country’s 3.5 million eligible voters did not take part in Sunday’s poll, reflecting a lack of enthusiasm for the candidates, both of whom fell short. get 40 percent of the votes needed to avoid a meltdown in the first round. Vote on February 6.

Figueres, who represents the National Liberation Party like his father, three-time President Jose Figueres Ferrer, told supporters, “Costa Rica voted and everyone spoke up.”

“As democrats, we are we, we will always respect that decision,” he said.

Above campaign trailBoth candidates see themselves as leaders who can change the country’s destiny.

Costa Rica, a country with a population of about 5 million, has seen two decades of steadily rising unemployment and rising inequality.

Country slide debt piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has rattled its lucrative ecotourism industry.

The results topped a thrilling campaign where both candidates’ past controversies were on full display.

Chaves, who briefly served in the administration of outgoing President Carlos Alvarado and represents the Social Democratic Progressive Party, has been investigated for allegedly running a parallel campaign funding structure. illegal.

He was also accused of sexual harassment by many women while working at the World Bank. He was eventually demoted and subsequently resigned from the organization, but has denied the charges.

His fighting style and confrontational approach to the media have led him to be compared to former US President Donald Trump.

For his part, Figueres was questioned about a $900,000 consulting fee he received after serving as chairman of telecommunications company Alcatel while the company competed for a contract with the national utility. He was never charged and denied any wrongdoing.

Chaves will take office next month with his party holding just 10 of the 57 national parliament seats, while Figueres’ party, who finished first in an indecisive first vote in February, has 19 chair.

He will replace President Carlos Alvarado, who rose to prominence as the economy took off. In February, Alvarado’s party failed to win a single seat in the new congress.

A spokesman for the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), Gustavo Ramon, said Sunday’s vote was carried out “in peace and quiet”.

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