A new record was hit in Costa Rica! The largest number ever of presidential candidates ran this year. Out of 25 candidates, Rodrigo Chaves won the Presidential Election of 2022. Although this didn’t happen with one shot. Did having so many options to choose from make this presidential election particularly difficult?
During the first round of voting on February 6th, out of 3,541,908 registered voters only 1,818,725 voted. This means that over 50% of the voting population did not vote. So many voters felt overwhelmed and undecided about which candidate they believed in.
With a total of 25 candidates, Figueres received 27.26% of the vote and Chaves 16.70%. The president of Costa Rica is elected using a modified two-round system. For a candidate to win they must receive at least 40% of the vote in the first round. If no candidate wins in the first round, a runoff will be held between the two candidates with the biggest quantity of votes.
Round 2 was a definite nail biter. Especially since 73.94% of voters did not vote for either Presidential candidate. It was up to citizens who didn’t particularly care for either to pick which president they disliked less.
In the second round the turnout for voters was only a little bit better. Out of the 3,541,908 registered voters only 1,927,270 voted. Only a 55% voter turnout… Even after all the encouragement from the government and media to go out and vote. After all, it’s the citizens responsibility to care for the country and its democracy.
Finally they tallied the votes… it was a close one! Rodrigo Chaves had 52.84% of the votes and Jose Maria Figueres had 47.16%. The people of Costa Rica chose Rodrigo Chaves of the Social Democratic Progress Party (PPSD) to shake up traditional party politics.
Many Costa Ricans eager for a change said they were looking for a break with the politicians of the past. They feared that Figueres, who comes from a very well known political family, would continue with the ideology of the past.
Only time will tell if Costa Ricans made the right decision. Is shaking up the most stable political system in Central America the right way to go? Will this solve the widespread discontent in the country? Can Chaves inspire the Costa Rican people to once again have hope in their government and become more active members?
Let’s hope so… because this year’s turnout was the lowest in decades as voters expressed frustration with Costa Rica’s struggling economy due to the global pandemic. As Presidential Elections seem to become more and more difficult across the world, always remember it is your responsibility as a citizen to stay involved and participate.