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Solis wins Costa Rica election run-off


Opposition center-left candidate Luis Guillermo Solis has won Costa Rica’s presidential election, being set to take power away from the graft-stained ruling party.

Official preliminary results from the country’s Election Tribunal showed that, with 94 percent of polling booths counted, Solis received 77.88 percent support in second round of voting on Sunday.

This is while rival candidate Johnny Araya of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) gained 22.3 percent of the votes.

Araya quit campaigning weeks ago after polls showed him with little or no chance of winning the second round.

Solis, of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), will succeed incumbent President Laura Chinchilla, whose ruling party has lost popularity over allegations of widespread corruption and economic mismanagement.

Solis, who has never held elected office, has pledged to fight Costa Rica’s stubborn poverty rate and to crack down on corruption.

In addition, Solis has vowed to boost social spending and not to raise taxes in the next two years.

“We want to recover that sense of solidarity, of social inclusion, and commitment to the neediest Costa Ricans that has been lost,” said Solis.

Meanwhile, analysts say Solis will face a number of obstacles in office, as his PAC party will hold 13 of the 57 seats in the country’s Congress and might struggle to find funds to finance social programs.

“He’s going to have a government without money, a fiscal deficit of 6 percent, and lots of social spending commitments,” said Jose Carlos Chinchilla, a political analyst.

Solis has said he plans to attract new businesses to the country’s free-trade zones in a bid to boost the economy.

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