Carlos Alvarado wins Costa Rica's presidency in vote fought on gay rights

Costa Rica’s centre-left presidential candidate, Carlos Alvarado, is set to be the country’s next leader after elections on Sunday.

Costa Rica’s president-elect Carlos Alvarado. (Photo: Reuters)
Costa Rica’s president-elect Carlos Alvarado. (Photo: Reuters)

Costa Rica’s centre-left presidential candidate, Carlos Alvarado, is set to be the country’s next leader after elections on Sunday.

Costa Rica's electoral council made the announcement based on ballots from 91% of polling stations.

A former minister and fiction writer, Alvarado Quesada, 38, won 60% of the vote to his conservative opponent's 39%, the near-complete count shows.

“My commitment is to a government for everybody, in equality and liberty for a more prosperous future,” he told thousands of cheering supporters blowing horns and waving Costa Rica’s red, white and blue flag. “There is much more that unites us than divides us.”

During his campaign, he promised to allow gay marriage, whereas his opponent Fabricio Alvarado (no relation) said he would restore traditional valued by preventing gay marriage and restricting women’s access to abortion.

Fabricio Alvarado, 43, is an evangelical preacher, one-time TV journalist and Christian music singer. He was standing for the conservative National Restoration Party (PRN).

The election had exposed divisions in the Central American tourist destination known for laid-back beach culture and pristine rainforests, but where some rural communities remain socially conservative.

It could also reflect the mood elsewhere in Latin America, where elections are being held this year in several countries that have backed same-sex unions, provoking a conservative reaction.

Alvarado Quesada, until recently a minister in the outgoing government, will be the youngest president in the modern history of Costa Rica when he takes office in May.

More in World

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe