On Sunday, April 1st, the Costa Rican people went to the polls to elect a new President.
According to Freedom House, Costa Rica has a long history of democratic stability, with a multiparty political system and regular transitions of power through free and fair elections. This tradition continued this year, with two rounds of free and fair elections.
This was a run-off election, a second go-around. In the first round, which took place on February 4th of this year, neither Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz from the National Restoration Party, nor Carlos Alvarado Quesada from the ruling Citizens’ Action Party received more than 40 percent of the vote, requiring a runoff between the top two candidates.
Heading into the second round, all indications were that this would be a very close election. In the end, Carlos Alvarado Quesada defeated Fabricio Alvarez Muñoz -- 61 percent to 39 percent.
Even though Costa Rican voters held strong opinions about their chosen candidates, campaign rhetoric was respectful and there were no reports of election-related violence. There was a peaceful transition of power, a hallmark of strong democratic institutions. The losing candidate conceded the election with grace and in a conciliatory manner, and the winning candidate accepted the victory with humility and praise for his opponent.
“The United States congratulates Carlos Alvarado Quesada on his election as the next President of Costa Rica in free, fair, and peaceful voting that continues to be a model for the region,” said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert.
“Our long and enduring partnership with Costa Rica is rooted in a shared history of support for human rights, democracy, and security for all people. Costa Rica plays a key role as our partner promoting regional economic prosperity, security, and good governance throughout the hemisphere,” she said.
“We look forward to building on that partnership with the Alvarado administration.”