Latin America & Caribbean

Costa Rica profile - Leaders

President: Luis Guillermo Solis

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Image caption President Luis Guillermo Solis is a former diplomat

Luis Guillermo Solis won the run-off presidential election in April 2014, ending the country's traditional two-party system.

By gaining 78% of the ballots cast, he became the first third-party candidate in more than half a century to win the top post.

Mr Solis campaigned on a promise to bring transparency and humility to the presidency.

Soon after coming to power, he passed a decree banning plaques bearing his name and portraits of him being hung in government offices.

His centrist Citizen Action Party (PAC) was founded 13 years previously to challenge an entrenched two-party system that saw the social democratic National Liberation Party (PLN) and the conservative Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) swap power between them.

Mr Solis gained a reputation as a researcher at FLACSO, a renowned Latin American social sciences institute, and as a programme director at the University of Costa Rica.

In the late 1980s he worked as chief of staff in Costa Rica's foreign ministry, where he worked on the design and promotion of the Central American peace plan for which former president Oscar Arias Sanchez won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize.

He later served as an ambassador. Mr Solis was a member of the governing PLN party, and has held several cabinet posts in PLN administrations, before switching sides nine years previously.