Sunday 24 September 2023

Presidential elections on Sunday likely to head to second round

No candidate is expected to obtain the required 40% vote to win on February 6

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QCOSTARICA – The presidential elections on Sunday, February 6, is more about fighting for the two places in the second round on April 3, according to Opol Consultores.

Neither of the top three candidates – Jose Maria Figueres, Lineth Saborio, or Fabricio Alvarado, is expected to obtain the 40% required in the first round or a guaranteed place in the second round.

The poll, which is the last of the company for the first round, projects an electoral tiebreaker, since none of the top three candidates, José María Figueres, Fabricio Alvarado and Lineth Saborío, would achieve 40% of the valid votes to win this Sunday.

In another poll published on Tuesday by the Universidad, Center for Research and Political Studies (CIEP) of the University of Costa Rica (UCR), none of the 25 presidential candidates – the largest number in the country’s history – are expected to win more than 17% of the vote.

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The CEIP poll also found that over 31% of voters were undecided less than a week before the elections.

The poll shows PLN candidate and former President Jose Maria Figueres (1994-1998), ahead of the pack with 17%, followed by former PUS Vice President Lineth Saborío with 12.9%, and evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado, in his second consecutive attempt at the presidency, with10.3%.

Over at the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm, predicted that Saborío would be a strong candidate in the second round, while Figueres might be disadvantaged by his party’s alleged ties to corruption, referring to the ongoing case of corruption against five PLN mayors.

Unemployment and corruption are top concerns for Costa Ricans, according to surveys:  unemployment is at 14.4%, the highest in a decade, except for 2020 when the economy was crippled by pandemic-related lockdown measures.

Voters largely blame the problems on the outgoing president and the two traditional parties, PLN and PUSC.

The record number of daily COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant is also expected to drive low voter turnout.

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