Laura Chinchilla, now President Chinchilla, on Sunday was elected the first female president in Costa Rica’s history, winning the popular vote with a 46.8% support with 94.2% of the ballots counted.
President Chinchilla’s win was apparent within a few hours of the closing of the voting, as rivals Ottón Solís and Otto Guevara declared defeat, not even waiting for the vote count to reach the half way mark.
Solís was the first to accept that Laura Chinchilla won, congratulating President Chinchilla and promising that this would be his last campaign, moving on to others things, paving the way for the others.
Guevara, moments later announced defeat but with a triumphant voice, claiming victory for a party that won more than 20% of the vote, a big win over the 9% support of 2006 and vowed the party to the presidency in 2014.
“With a lot of respect, we accept the reality,” said Solis, who was just 1 percent of votes away from a victory in 2006 elections.
President Chinchilla told her supporters gathered at the Crowne Plaza Corobici as the country’s next president, who would keep all the promises she made during the campaign.
“We don’t receive a bounced cheque from the people. To the contrary, we have shouldered solemn obligations to hold dialogues with all parties and social sectors,” she said.
Chinchilla’s campaign platform included improvement of the country’s infrastructure, creation of a progressive income tax and new jobs with “green jobs” initiative.
She also has promised to create more job opportunities, better living conditions for children and senior citizens, as well as to combat crimes and drug trafficking.
Laura became the first female ministra de Seguridad from 1996 to 1998 and held the post of first vice-president in the Arias administration from 2006 to 2009, resigning to run for the presidency.
Voting began at 6am sharp, as all the 6.000 voting centres were in syncronized time with the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) and closed promptly at 6pm. At 8:15pm, Luis Antonio Sobrado, president of the TSE, announced the first voting results, showing Chinchilla with a firm lead, with more votes than her two main rivals combined.
Costa Rica is the only Latin American country which in 60 years has enjoyed democratic elections without interruption, said Emma Maria Mejia, chief of an observer mission from the Organization of American States (OAS).
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