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Costa Rican Elections 2022: favorites and what the CIEIP - UCR poll says?

Elections in the Central American country are coming up, with more than two dozen candidates vying to control one of the most stable countries in the region.

Costa Rica Presidential candidates take part in the television debate in Heredia.
Mayela LopezReuters

February 6 will see the first stage of presidential elections in Costa Rica. 25 candidates are battling each other to win the presidency, but a final result could be months in the making.

Due the high number of candidates, no one is expected to garner 40 percent of the vote, meaning a second round of voting between the two lead candidates will take place. This happened in the last election where Carlos Alvarado won the run-off against Fabricio Alvarado with just over 60 percent of the vote.

A second round of voting will be conducted on April 3, if none of the candidates make the 40 percent threshold.

What does the current polling suggest?

Polling conducted by the University of Costa Rica put veteran politician Jose Maria Figueres as the favorite on 17 percent of the vote. He was president of the nation back in the 1990s.

He is followed by former Vice President Lineth Saborío with 12.9 percent, and 2018s runner-up Fabricio Alvarado on 10.3 percent.

Crucially, the poll suggests 31 percent of voters are yet to make up their mind, mnenaing there could yet be a big swing for a candidate.

A little bit about Costa Rica

Situated between Panama and Nicaragua, Costa Rica is one of the most stable countries In Central America. Since 1949 the state has had no army, instead diverting the funds into public services. It has an extremely diverse economy with little reliance on tourism.

According to the Press Freedom Index, it has the 7th freest press in the world, as well as the 37th most democratic nation. It has had free and fair elections since 1948.

More than 4 million people live in Costa Rica, the largest city being the capital San José.

The election has been fought on a battle over the covid-19 pandemic, which is driving economic problems. Unemployment is at 14.4 percent, the highest in a decade.


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