Costa Rica Elects Rodrigo Chaves as President

    Image copyright: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • The right-wing Chaves defeated former Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres by 53% to 47% in a run-off vote last Sun.

    • In the first election round held in Feb., Chaves came in second with 17% of the vote - 10 points less than National Liberal Party candidate Figueres, who fell short of the 40% needed to win.

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    Chaves's presidency poses a threat to Costa Rica's decades-long culture of moderation and stability in politics. By adopting a populist rhetoric similar to other anti-establishment leaders such as Trump and El Salvador's Bukele, he is likely to promote a democratic backsliding.

    Right narrative

    Chaves' victory represents a peaceful, democratic revolution that will alter how Costa Rica is governed. The low voter turnout shows that Costa Ricans are dissatisfied with politics and are demanding real change. Chaves is exactly what they need.

    Cynical narrative

    Costa Ricans were faced with two unappetizing options in the presidential election. Figueres is the corrupt face of a disliked political establishment and Chaves is an alleged harasser who displayed an authoritarian character in his campaign. Costa Ricans didn't vote for who they wanted, but rather against who they didn't want as president.

    Political split



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