Citizen Action Party (PAC) candidate Luis Guillermo Solis won Sunday nights presidential election in Costa Rica in a landslide victory.
Solis received 1 million votes, crushing his opponent Johnny Araya, the National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate who chose not to campaign. Araya stopped campaigning for the presidency about a month before the election due to his poor polling numbers, claiming that any further campaigning would be a waste of money.
The PAC is pleased with the turnout at the polls, since experts predicted that a low voter turnout could undermine Solis and his center-left government. Even though the presidential election was essentially a guaranteed win for Solis, the PAC candidate still received the highest total number of votes in the countrys history during a presidential election.
With returns from 94 percent of polling booths, Solis had 77.88 percent of the vote, and Araya quickly accepted defeat with just 22.12 percent of the vote.
Solis, an academic who has taught at Florida International University and the University of Michigan as well as local Costa Rican universities, has never held an elected office before Sundays victory.
Solis ran on the promise to increase social spending and decrease the devastating poverty rate in his country. In a news conference the day before the election, Solis said, We want to recover that sense of solidarity, of social inclusion, and commitment to the neediest Costa Ricans that has been lost.
Despite the easy victory over Arayas, Solis future as the president of Costa Rica will be anything but simple.
Jose Carlos Chinchilla, a political analyst and a director at the University of Costa Rica, told Reuters, Hes going to have a government without money, a fiscal deficit of 6 percent, and lots of social spending commitments.
After Solis victory was announced, the streets of San Jose were awash with PAC supporters. Hundreds of people celebrated in the streets, waving the partys red and yellow flags and honking their car horns to show their support for the new president.