Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Court Sunday confirmed Rodrigo Chaves of the Social Democratic Progress Party had won the Presidential elections with 52.9 % of the votes, against José María Figueres' 47.11%.
The Court made the announcement after 95% of the votes had been counted. It also admitted abstentionism had stood at 42.8%.
The people have spoken and we will always be respectful of that decision, said Figueres of the National Liberation Party. I congratulate Rodrigo Chaves and wish him the best, he added.
Rodrigo Chaves will become Costa Rica's 49th president and will be inaugurated May 8 for a 4-year term, to replace Carlos Alvarado of the center-left Citizen Action Party.
This is not a moment to celebrate, but an enormous challenge, said Chaves in his victory speech. I send my recognition to Mr. José María Figueres and to all the people who voted for him, Chaves added. Tonight, let's put away the partisan flags that can divide us, he went on.
The abstentionism that we are going through today has become the biggest political party in Costa Rica, Chaves stressed.
An economist by trade, Chaves intends to reduce the size of the State, and with it, the burdens imposed on investment and entrepreneurship, in addition to fighting corruption within political groups such as the National Liberation Party (PLN).
Everything starts by accelerating our economy to generate jobs, attract investments, consolidate new companies and strengthen our exports. You have our promise: we are going to put an end, once and for all, to red tape, excessive obstacles, interventions by the State, and abusive costs. We will let them work, without getting in the way! Chaves promised.
The 60-year-old Chaves has a Ph.D. in Economics from Ohio University in the United States and received a scholarship from Harvard University to study poverty issues in Asia. He was Costa Rica's Finance Minister during the current administration of Carlos Alvarado for six months after which he was asked to resign in May 2020 due to irreconcilable differences.
Chaves has worked for the World Bank for nearly 30 years. He directed the WB's office in Indonesia. During his tenure, two female workers accused him of sexual advances and a pattern of unwanted inappropriate behavior. Chaves said it was all gossip and lies and denied that this was the reason for his resignation from the World Bank.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal in October 2021, Chaves was a known harasser in World Bank circles, with a documented pattern of harassment that lasted at least four years and involved six women.