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Friday, May 24, 2024

Voting in Costa Rica and the Upcoming Election

As you travel along the roads of Costa Rica you are quickly reminded of the upcoming election. Whether it be a dirt road through a small town or village or a well-traveled route, no one is forgotten as every vote matters.

This is because the general election is fast approaching and this Sunday, February 6, 2022 political changes will come to Costa Rica.

But how do you become eligible to run for President and how can you still vote if you are a Costa Rican expat? Lets discuss that and few more topics about the Costa Rica Presidential Elections.

Becoming President of Costa Rica

Every 4 years Costa Rica runs their direct elections where the country has the right to have their say in the direction Costa Rica will go in. It is at this time the people of Costa Rica will take to the polls to help determine Costa Rica’s next president and Legislative Assembly.

However, in order to get on that ballot, there are several mandatory qualifications one must have if you are hoping to vie for the position of President of Costa Rica.

  • The most obvious one is to be a Costa Rican by birth.
  • You must also be 30 years of age or older.
  • You have to be neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion.

Unlike other country’s the president of Costa Rica cannot run for consecutive 4 year terms. It wasn’t until 2005 when candidates were permitted to run again, if they chose, but had to wait at least 8 years after governing in order to do so.

In order to win the presidential election, one must win at least 40% of the popular vote on February 6, 2022. If history is to repeat itself, this typically does not happen in the first round of votes and a runoff election follows if no one receives the 40%. The two candidates with the most votes will then take to the second-round ballot.

It will then be on April 3, 2022, as this is the required two months after the first round of votes when voters will return to determine who they feel will best govern Costa Rica. However, it is just the decision on who will be the next President that will be determined as the Legislative Assembly was decided on the first vote.

The Costa Rica Presidential Candidates

The ability to vote has been made easy and accessible, however, making a decision of who you want to mark on your ballot may not come as easy. This national election has a record number of candidates on the ballot this time and may seem a bit overwhelming so being well informed on each candidate is of upmost importance.

There are a few faces many may recognize from the past with José María Figueres (National Liberation Party – PLN) seeking a return after serving as former head of state from 1994 – 1998 and Lineth Saborío of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) and former Vice President of 2002-2006.

According to the UCR most recent poll it is these familiar candidates leading the forefront of the election with Fabricio Alvarado of the New Republic party (PNR) following closely behind.

The Broad Front (FA) party’s José Maria Villalta and Social Democratic Progress (PSD) party Rodrigo Chaves close up the top 5 positions at the moment but nothing as yet be determined or predicted.

Along with these findings the most recent results from UCR also show that 41% have not yet decided on which candidate they will cast their vote for. That being said many will end up making their decision on who they will vote for in the days leading up to the election or even as they stand stare at the ballot just before voting.

Voting for Costa Rica Expats

If you are not in the country at the time of the election you still have the ability to make a difference in the presidential election.

You are eligible to vote in Costa Rica election if you are of the legal age of 18 and possess valid identification regardless whether you are living in Costa Rica or somewhere else in the world. If you have become a naturalized Costa Rican citizen you are also able to taking advantage of being a citizen and you also have the right to vote.

For those abroad, there are 52 consulates from 42 different countries to allow those overseas to still be a part of your country’s decision. Polling stations have even been set up for registered voters residing in 19 prisons within Costa Rica to ensure the right to vote for prisoners.

Final Thoughts

Any Costa Rica voter any will tell you that voting is both voluntary and symbolically required. However, it is, in fact, obligatory. However, in reality if you don’t show up at the ballot box there aren’t any legal problems or consequences for not voting as it’s not on the top of the list for those who enforce the issue.

You are more likely to have issues with those around you when complaining about who was elected since you didn’t make the effort to have your say in the matter.

With the ever-changing state of the current world conditions, by voting, Costa Rica’s citizens can strive for a new government that will bring forth a sense of stability in an unstable world.

Remember every vote counts so if you are eligible to vote in the upcoming Sunday, February 6, 2022, Costa Rica general election be sure to have your say.

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