Latin America

Costa Rica en route to an unexpected presidential runoff

Former World Bank director Rodrigo Chaves grabbed second place in Costa Rica's first-round vote, setting up a showdown against former President José María Figueres

Costa Rica presidential candidate Rodrigo Chaves of the Social Democratic Progress Party (PPSD) takes part in the television debate, ahead of the general election, in Heredia, Costa Rica, February 3, 2022. Picture taken February 3, 2022. REUTERS/Mayela Lo
Just days before Election Day, polls didn’t suggest Rodrigo Chaves had that much of a chance. Photo: Mayela Lopez/Reuters via Alamy

Barely 75 percent of ballots had been counted on Sunday evening when electoral courts in Costa Rica sent out the proverbial black smoke, indicating that the country’s presidential election would be going to a runoff. While the results threw up some surprises, the bottom line was that no candidate reached the minimum 40 percent of votes required to win, meaning the two best-voted contenders will face off in a runoff on April 3. 

Former President José María Figueres — who ruled the country between 1994 and 1998 — finished in first place with 27.2 percent of the votes, meaning that...

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