With only weeks to go for the second round of Costa Rica’s presidential election on April 1, little has emerged on the economic plans of Fabricio Alvarado, the candidate of the Partido Restauración Nacional (PRN).
His opponent Carlos Alvarado – no relation – of Partido Accion Cuiadana (PAC), currently the ruling party, has a plan for the next four years if he is elected.
But, the PAC has not proposed any clear initiative to reduce the cost of government operations, especially the compensation of officials, which this year will consume almost 50% of the budget, a pressing issue of voters.
Alberto Franco, an economist at Ecoanálisis, told La Republica, “Probably in Restauración they refer to limit the purchases of goods and services of the central Government, many parties have tried this without success. This item represents more than 3% of total spending, so any moderation in this area has a small impact on the deficit. In Acción Ciudadana they talk about limiting the growth of spending through the draft fiscal rule. Both are limited in details.”
The reality is that, without any fiscal reform, the deficit would reach 7.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of 2018, according to the Banco Central (Central Bank).
In the Feb. 4 election, none of the 13 presidential candidates was able to obtain the required 40% of the popular vote, forcing a run-off election on April 1 between the top two candidates.
The latest polls indicate Fabricio Alvarado a small percentage lead over Carlos Alvarado, however, when taking into account the margin of error, the two Alvarados neck-in-neck.