With most of the votes counted from Sunday’s election, it looks like Costa Ricans have elected their first woman president. Laura Chinchilla maintains a 47 percent share of vote, far beyond the 40 percent needed to avoid a run-off. Chinchilla, a social conservative who represents the ruling National Libertarian party, promised during her campaign to continue free market policies in Central America's most stable nation.
Nine candidates were vying for the top spot, but only three truly had a fighting chance: Chinchilla, 50, Citizen Action Party candidate Otton Solis and Libertarian Movement candidate Otto Guevara. Polls indicated that Solis and Guevara roughly had a 20 percent share of the vote each. Both quickly conceded in defeat. Four years ago, current President Oscar Arias edged out Solis in a tight race.
"Today we are making history," said Chinchilla, who will be the fifth Latin American woman to serve as president when she takes office in May. "The Costa Rican people have given me their confidence, and I will not betray it."