Pro-Business Candidate Leads Costa Rica Election First Round

A former president running on a platform of attracting foreign investment is on track to win the first round of Costa Rica’s general election

Jose Maria Figueres, presidential candidate of the National Liberation Party, center, speaks to members of the media after casting a ballot at a polling station during presidential elections in San Jose, Costa Rica.
By Michael McDonald
February 07, 2022 | 08:33 AM
Reading time: 1 min.

Bloomberg — A former president running on a platform of attracting foreign investment is on track to win the first round of Costa Rica’s general election, while falling short of the threshold needed to avoid a runoff vote in April.

Jose Maria Figueres claimed victory in a speech to supporters Sunday night, and pledged to turn Costa Rica into a business-friendly country where more citizens speak English. With 74% of votes counted, he had 27% of the total, according to the electoral authority.

“Costa Rica is going to become the winning country we all dreamed of, the winning country we all deserve,” Figueres said during a speech on Sunday night.

PUBLICIDAD

Rodrigo Chaves, a World Bank economist who served briefly as finance minister, was in second place with almost 17% of votes. He said he’ll face Figueres in the second round, though as of midnight local time he only had a narrow margin over the third-placed candidate. In a speech on Sunday he promised to reduce inequality, create opportunities for entrepreneurs and lower the cost of living by breaking up monopolies.

During the campaign he said he would continue a talks with the International Monetary Fund and seek to eliminate tax exemptions for the wealthy.

Fabricio Alvarado, a journalist and evangelical singer, was in third place, with 15% of the vote.

A record 25 candidates were on the ballot sheets. Turnout was 60%, the lowest since at least 1953 for a first round vote, according to a local university. A runoff will be held on April 3 if no-one gets more than 40% in round one.

Read More: