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Costa Rica elects controversial economist Rodrigo Chavez as president

San Jose, April 3 (EFE). Costa Ricans elected Rodrigo Chaves Robles Sunday in the second round as the 49th president in the country’s history, after a campaign in which the politician focused his message on promises of “change”. Face to face against corruption. Chávez, of the young (center-right) Social Democratic Progress Party, won 52.9% of the vote and defeated the former president (1994-1998) and candidate of the National Liberation Party (PLN), José María Figueres, who captured 47, 1%. The abstention rate was 42.8%. The president-elect affirmed that he receives today’s election result “with humility” and “a tremendous responsibility full of challenges and difficulties that we will all solve.” The economist thanked the people of Costa Rica for “attending a democratic day that makes us shine before the world, we are among the best democracies in the world.” The president-elect will face the great challenge of governing with a House of only 10 of the 57 deputies who make up the legislature. The new president will have to negotiate with the other five parties represented in Congress and especially with the PLN in Figueres, the largest part of 19 lawmakers. Chavez will take office on May 8 for a 4-year term, replacing Carlos Alvarado, of the center-left Citizen Action Party who was finance minister for six months between 2019 and 2020. President Alvarado said he telephoned the president – a choice “to express his congratulations to make an orderly transition and express my best wishes in the tasks he will face as the 49th President of Costa Rica.” President Alvarado said: “I congratulate Costa Rica on a new democratic day!” An economist by profession, Chaves has proposed reducing the size of the state, lowering social fees and obstacles to investment and entrepreneurship, but his message focused on the promise of a direct fight against corruption that he blames on traditional parties like the party. Liberación Nacional (PLN), to which its competitor belongs. The economist held the position of Minister of Finance for six months between 2019 and 2020, and before that he held various positions in the World Bank, where in 2019 he received an internal punishment after being convicted of sexual harassment by several co-workers. Chavez, 60, has focused his political campaign on criticizing “as always” and traditional parties such as those represented by his rival, who has accused him of corruption. He also disagreed with the press, which he accused of bias after various media outlets published information about sexual harassment complaints against him when he worked at the World Bank and possible parallel structures in financing his campaign. The economist, married and father of two, promised in his campaign to work for Costa Rica to be “the happiest country in the world,” fight corruption, and rule the poorest sectors. “Now it is up to us to fulfill our responsibility,” Chavez said. “It is not worth losing Costa Rica. Costa Rica needs us all.” Former President Figueres accepted defeat, thanked his supporters, promised to help “save” the country, and asked to leave “hate messages” behind. “Costa Rica voted and the people spoke. We, as democrats, will always respect this decision. I congratulate Rodrigo Chavez and wish him all the best,” Figueres said in a speech. The former president said Costa Rica was “going through a deep crisis” that put him in a “state of emergency”, before which he offered his help. “We had and still intend to help save Costa Rica, respect the human rights of all people (…) It is time to leave the messages of enmity, hatred and division of the Costa Rican family behind us, and to move forward among all put aside the differences.” (c) EFE . Agency

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