Green sweep

The final opinion poll of the election cycle is out, and it looks like Costa Rica is going to stay firmly in the hands of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN). That also means that in less than a week, Costa Rica will have its first woman president, Laura Chinchilla.

At 41.9%, Chinchilla is polling comfortably ahead of the four-candidate field. Her closest challenger, Libertarian Party candidate Otto Guevara, is pulling in a little more than 20%. Left-wing Citizen Action Party candidate Otton Solís is around about there as well. Chinchilla needs over 40% to win in the first round, but even if she doesn’t get it, she would be about 10 points ahead of either candidate in a run-off.

The PLN is set to win big in Costa Rica’s unicameral legislature as well. La Nación is projecting it will pick up 22 out of 57 seats, with an outside possibility of the verdiblancos winning a majority.

This means Costa Rica is likely to see the policies of current President Oscar Arias continue without interruption, as Chinchilla’s most recent of many government posts was as Arias’ VP. In some senses, this is a good thing. Switching parties every four years tends to leave a country’s development spinning in the aisle, and a clean continuation of PLN leadership might mean that the crucial infrastructure and public safety issues currently confronting the country will get dealt with.

On the other hand, Arias has made some deals with the devil the Chinese whose full implications are not yet known. Crime and cocaine trafficking through Costa Rica increased under his watch. And he’s also been a pretty consistent promoter of open-pit gold mining even as he says he’s not.

In sum, if Chinchilla wins, don’t look for anything drastic (or anything at all) to change, which I suppose is exactly the way the Ticos want it.

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Related posts:

  1. Good start
  2. Blowout
  3. Cheapskates
  4. Arias out of bounds
  5. US warships headed to Costa Rica
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  1. [...] Her two closest opponents both won in the low 20s. Just a week or two ago, however, Chinchilla had been polling at 41.9%, which would have been within striking distance for a runoff. What [...]

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