Costa Rica prepares for February elections

Costa Ricans will head to the polls in February to elect their next president, two vice presidents and 57 Legislative Assembly members. Alvaro Murillo has a nice primer on some of the unique characteristics of Costa Rican election in The Tico Times.

According to Murillo, the two front-runners are former legislator and businessman Antonio Álvarez Desanti of the National Liberation Party (PLN) and lawyer and former Cabinet minister Juan Diego Castro of the National Integration Party (PIN).
This election pits support for traditional political systems, most closely represented by Alvarez Desanti (supported by former President Oscar Arias), against questioning of that system that ranges from displeasure to fury, embodied by Juan Diego Castro. While there are many differences, some sectors see similarities to the 2016 U.S. election, when “the system” (Hillary Clinton) faced off against a challenger, Donald Trump, whose discourse seemed made-to-order for many citizens unhappy with traditional politics. The difference here is that there are other parties that also play an important role, and that Castro represents a very small party, the PIN – which opened its doors to his populist agenda, built on the fame he has attained through frequent television appearances as a legal expert and defense attorney in high-profile cases.
A recent poll found that 40 percent of voters had not made up their minds about which presidential candidate they intended to vote for so it remains anyone's game. Not every country in the world holds a presidential debate in prison.