It feels a bit like deja vu. In an incredibly familiar (to us) outcome, levitra the presidential election is too close to call. There are two candidates within a .07 percent difference in votes. There is stress among the people whose motto is “no stress” “pura vida”. Our teachers were all up most of the night watching and waiting for an outcome. This presidency has huge consequences as one candidate supports TLC, doctor which is basically NAFTA, and another one doesn’t. The country is divided on this issue. Here’s an article better educated on the subject than I am…
Electoral officials sorted the last uncounted votes Monday in Costa Rica’s surprisingly close presidential election between Nobel Peace laureate Oscar Arias and an economist critical of the country’s free trade pact with the United States.
Arias, a former president who helped end the bloody conflicts that wracked Central America in the 1980s, had the narrowest of leads over Otton Solis of the Citizens’ Action Party, an economist who contends the Central American Free Trade Agreement would hurt Costa Rican farmers and should be renegotiated.
With 85 percent of the votes counted from Sunday’s election, Arias, of the center-right National Liberation Party, had 40.6 percent support compared with 40.2 percent for Solis.
Pre-election polls predicted that Solis would receive just over a quarter of the vote.
“The polls never told the truth,” Solis told reporters. “We said it many times.”
The winner of the presidential election needs at least 40 percent to win outright and avoid a runoff in April.
Twelve other candidates also were vying for the presidency in an election that officials said had a 64 percent turnout the lowest in Costa Rican history. The low turnout apparently stemmed from indifference following scandals involving three former presidents.
Arias supports trade agreement with the United States, arguing it would help revitalize the country’s stagnant economy. But Solis argues that the pact, known as CAFTA, would hurt farmers if enacted.
The United States, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic already have ratified CAFTA. Costa Rica is the only country that has yet to ratify the agreement, although it has two years to join once the pact takes effect.
The agreement eliminates tariffs and opens up the region to U.S. goods and services. It also lowers obstacles to investment in the area and strengthens protections for intellectual property.
Arias, who won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for working to end Central America’s civil wars, was president in 1986-1990. He has vowed to improve the country’s infrastructure especially the thousands of pothole-filled roads and invest more in education and housing.
This mountainous country has a thriving ecotourism industry and relatively high-paying jobs, but the poverty rate stands at 20 percent.
Solis, a 51-year-old economist, says the free-trade pact should be renegotiated because it would exacerbate poverty and hurt small-scale farmers. He also proposes subsidies for farmers and small businesses.
“What that trade pact does to our farmers is criminal,” he said Sunday. “If I become president, I will change it in at least seven areas, otherwise there won’t be a trade accord with the United States.”
Solis lost the presidential election four years ago and served as minister of planning during Arias’ first administration. He broke away from the National Liberation Party and in 2001 created Citizens’ Action, which he says “puts people before foreign corporations.”
Solis has the support of leftists, but he stops short of declaring an ideological position and instead says his party is an oppositional force to the two parties that have ruled Costa Rica for almost 50 years.
The country’s current president is Abel Pacheco of the Christian Social Union party. Costa Rican law does not permit immediate re-election, but the Constitutional Court ruled in 2003 that former presidents could run again after leaving office for at least one four-year term.
Costa Ricans traditionally have treated presidential elections as a national holiday. But the mood among voters was noticeably down Sunday as evidenced by the low turnout.
“The people are tired of so many unfulfilled campaign promises,” said Luis Carranza, 41, a photo shop employee. “I will vote because it’s my responsibility, but I doubt anything will change.”