Costa Rica 2010
General elections were held in the Central American nation of Costa Rica on February 7. Incumbent President and Nobel Prize Laureate Óscar Arias, elected to a second non-consecutive term following a very narrow election in 2006, was not allowed to seek re-election. The 57 members of Costa Rica’s 57-member Legislative Assembly were also up for re-election.
In the largely middle-class and racially homogeneous, consensus-based peaceful, moderate politics have prevailed in Costa Rica since a period of brief turbulence in 1948. Between 1948 and 2006, Costa Rican politics were very bipartisan with two major power blocs: on the left, the National Liberation Party (PLN) and on the right, the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). Ideological distinctions were often blurry between both parties, though historically the PUSC advocated more neoliberal economic policies despite being a ‘social Christian’ and populist party. Still, the PLN under President Óscar Arias has moved to the right and many members of the PLN’s left-wing have criticized the party’s shift to the right and some members of the PLN, such as Ottón Solís have left the party. The PUSC, whose candidate Abel Pacheco won the 2002 election, was destroyed by a large corruption scandal involving former PUSC Presidents following the 2002 election.
In the 2006 election, Arias, who was first elected in 1986 and left office in 1990 with a Nobel Prize in hand for his efforts at peace negotiations in neighboring countries which had been engulfed in civil wars in the 80s, was allowed to seek re-election in 2006. He won 40.9% of the vote against 39.8% for Ottón Solís. The PUSC’s Ricardo Toledo won 3.55% of the vote.
In an internal PLN primary, Arias’ candidate, Laura Chinchilla defeated the candidate of the PLN left – Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José with 55% against 41% for her main opponent. Chinchilla is a member of the so-called Arista wing of the PLN, or the right-wing which supports CAFTA (free trade with the US) and positions itself outside the PLN’s historical socialist ideology and more on a Third Way scale.
Her two main opponents were Ottón Solís, running to her left on a left wing platform opposed to neoliberalism and CAFTA; and Otto Guevara of the Libertarian Movement (ML), which supports a free-market economy and is a classical liberal party. The ML is notably pro-American and strongly opposed to the Cuban regime, and has seemingly benefited from the 2006 collapse of the PUSC. Here are the results of the presidential election:
Italicized candidates dropped out in favour of Ottón Solís.
Laura Chinchilla (PLN) 46.78%
Ottón Solís (PAC) 25.15%
Otto Guevara (ML) 20.83%
Luis Fishman (PUSC) 3.86%
Óscar López (PAE) 1.91%
Mayra González (PRC) 0.72%
Eugenio Trejos (FA) 0.37%
Rolando Araya (AP) 0.21%
Walter Muñoz (IN) 0.17%
In the legislative elections, here are the results for the major parties. Data from the TSE and La Nacion newspaper.
PLN 37.16% winning 23 seats (-1)
PAC 17.68% winning 12 seats (-5)
ML 14.48% winning 9 seats (+3)
PUSC 8.05% winning 6 seats (+1)
PAE 9.17% winning 4 seats (+3)
PRC 3.79% winning 1 seat (+1)
FA 3.66% winning 1 seat (+1)
RN 1.62% winning 1 seat (+1)
The other parties winning seats include the left-wing ‘Accessibility without Exclusion’, a single-issue (disabled rights) party; the Costa Rican Renovation (PRC) party which is a Christian Protestant evangelical right-wing party; the very left-wing Broad Front and a party ‘National Restoration’ which I can’t find information about.
More results and all on La Nacion’s website.