Costa Rica holds presidential elections

Voters queue in Costa Rica Voters in Costa Rica could be called to cast their ballots again in an April run-off

Related Stories

The governing party's candidate has taken a clear lead in early results as votes are counted in Costa Rica's presidential election.

Johnny Araya of the National Liberation Party is on 36% with centrist Luis Guillermo Solis on 21% and left-winger Jose Maria Villalta on 17%.

If no candidate wins outright, there will be a run-off on 6 April.

Mr Araya has promised too distance himself from the scandal-hit government of President Laura Chinchilla.

He has served as mayor of the capital San Jose for 20 years and ran on a pledge to reduce poverty.

Sunday Mass

Correspondents say polling stations were empty in the morning but the turn out picked up in the afternoon. No disruptions have been reported.

Mr Villalta was the only one of the main candidates not to attend a Sunday Mass.

"I don't usually go to church. It would be hypocritical of me to go now, just because we are holding elections," Mr Villalta told reporters.

His opponents accuse him of being a "communist" and planning to legalise abortion.

Another leading contender, right-wing candidate Otto Guevara, promised to rebuild the "social fabric" and lower electricity prices.

Laura Chinchilla became the first female president of Costa Rica in 2010.

But with unemployment rising and the government involved in a string of corruption allegations, the president saw her popularity fade.

Correspondents say her successor will have to tackle not only the country's economic woes but a deeply divided Congress.

Voters are electing both a new president and members of Congress.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

* May require registration or subscription

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • Plane at Shannon airportShannon's call

    The airport that hosted a roll-call of presidents


  • Record playing on turntableVinyl destination

    The eight tribes of people who keep buying records


  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at RAAF Amberley airbase near Brisbane on 19 AprilIn pictures

    Fighter jets and screaming crowds for William and Kate


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • Tuna and avacadoThe Travel Show Watch

    Is Tokyo set to become the world's gourmet capital?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.