“Today the world is looking at Costa Rica, and Costa Rica, once again, sends forth a beautiful democratic message. Well done, Costa Rica,” said Carlos Alvarado, the victor in today’s presidential runoff with a surprisingly decisive 60.8 percent of the vote at press time, with 39.2 percent for his rival, conservative pastor Fabricio Alvarado.
The president-elect delivered his speech to a euphoric crowd at the Plaza Roosevelt in San Pedro, the university district just east of downtown San José.
“Costa Rica is a marvelous country, and it is one country. Let’s celebrate that,” he said. “This election, in particular, has held up a mirror to our country. We have to understand this in a profound way, and as the country’s first servant… I must unite this country and make it a leading republic in the 21st century.”
He thanked his opponent for his hard-fought campaign, which divided Costa Ricans in unprecedented ways over issues including marriage equality. He also thanked Fabricio Alvarado for his pledge of support for the new government.
“I have received a call from Fabricio Alvarado and his congratulations. I congratulated him, as well, for the work his movement has done. I ask for applause for them, for the work they carried out,” he said, to dutiful cheers. “We have seen a country with inequality, a country that needs to work to bring bigger opportunities to its various regions… to reduce the inequality between men and women. A country that must provide opportunities for people with disabilities, for the elderly, for our children.”
To deafening applause, the president-elect thanked Rodolfo Piza, the former candidate for the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) whose declaration of support for Carlos Alvarado early in the second round was undoubtedly a decisive factor in his victory.
“The flag we must raise tonight with great pride to show to the world is the flag of Costa Rica… a unique country that we love, and for which we work… What unites us is much greater than what divides us,” he said.
Stay tuned for more on this developing story.