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A Guide to 2018 Latin American Elections: Costa Rica



Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizen Action Party (PAC) won Costa Rica's presidential runoff in an unexpected landslide on April 1 when he beat evangelical Congressman Fabricio Alvarado (no relation) 60.7 percent to 39.3 percent. Fabricio had won the February 4 first round with 24.9 percent of the vote, while Carlos nabbed 21.7 percent.

PAC cofounder Epsy Campbell made history by becoming the first Afro-descendant woman elected vice president in continental Latin America, according to The Tico Times. The new administration will be sworn in on May 8 to a four-year term.

Ticos also elected 57 deputies to the Legislative Assembly in February. The National Liberation Party has 17 seats in the 2018–2022 session, Fabricio's National Restoration Party 14, and the PAC 10. Twenty-six legislators will be women.

>> Find out about other elections in our main 2018 Election Guide.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado (Costa Rica Foreign Ministry via AP)

Costa Rica Update: Carlos Alvarado's First 100 Days

August 15, 2018

Issues that defined the presidential campaign remain front and center in the national dialogue.

Carlos Alvarado at victory rally after winning 2018 Costa Rican presidential runoff election.

Costa Rica Update: Carlos Alvarado Wins Presidency in Landslide

April 02, 2018

The ruling party candidate defied polls to best conservative Fabricio Alvarado by double digits in the April 1 vote.

Carlos Alvarado, Fabricio Alvarado, Costa Rican 2018 presidential candidates

Five Things to Know about Costa Rica's Presidential Runoff

March 28, 2018

Ticos cast votes for Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado on April 1, Easter Sunday.

Poll Update: Costa Rica’s Two Alvarados in Dead Heat

Poll Update: Costa Rica's Two Alvarados in Dead Heat

February 21, 2018

Fabricio Alvarado has a slight edge but it’s a technical tie, and rising economic concerns could help Carlos Alvarado in the April 1 runoff.

Costa Rican presidential candidates at January 30 debate

LatAm in Focus: Costa Rican Voters Are "Blowing in the Wind"

January 31, 2018

After decades of steady bipartisan politics, in 2018, Tico voters keep changing their minds about who they’re going to vote for on February 4, say two University of Costa Rica pollsters.

Poll update graphic

Poll Update: Costa Rica's 2018 Presidential Election

February 01, 2018

Fabricio Alvarado maintains his lead in the final poll before the February 4 vote, while Carlos Alvarado makes big gains, and Juan Diego Castro tumbles.

Carlos Alvarado, Fabricio Alvarado, Costa Rica (AP)

Update: Two Alvarados Make It to Costa Rican Runoff

February 05, 2018

In an election marked by social conservatism, ticos will choose between Carlos and Fabricio Alvarado on Easter Sunday, April 1.

A man votes in Costa Rica's presidential election. (AP)

Explainer: Costa Rica's 2018 Elections

January 18, 2018

Just before the February 4 first round, court rulings have stirred the social order in the traditionally conservative country.

2018 Latin American elections flags

A Timeline of 2017 and 2018 Elections in Latin America

November 16, 2017

Latin Americans will vote for nine new presidents in two years, along with more than 2,900 legislators.