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Backgrounder: Key facts about Costa Rica's general elections

English.news.cn   2014-02-02 10:58:19

SAN JOSE, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Costa Rica is scheduled to hold its general elections on Sunday.

The following are some key facts about the elections:

All Costa Ricans over the age of 18 are eligible to vote, and there are over 3 million registered voters of a population of 4.7 million.

Voters will choose a new president, who will replace Laura Chinchilla on a four-year term, as well as two vice presidents and 57 deputies to the Legislative Assembly.

Following the 2008 electoral reforms, municipal leaders are now elected in mid-term elections (2016).

For the first time, 200,000 Costa Ricans living abroad will be able to vote this year.

Some 2,115 voting centers, including those overseas, have been confirmed so far with more due to be set up by the election day, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal said on its website.

Polling stations will open at 6 a.m. local time (1200 GMT) and close at 6 p.m. (2400 GMT) on Sunday, though the full count for the presidential and vice presidential races will not be completed until Feb. 14, according to the electoral authority.

Under Costa Rica's constitution, a candidate must garner at least 40 percent of the popular votes to win outright, otherwise the two leading candidates have to compete in a runoff, which is slated for April 6.

A total of 13 candidates have registered in the presidential race. The two front-runners - ruling National Liberation Party candidate Johnny Araya with a 17.4 percent support rate and center-left Broad Front candidate Jose Maria Villalta with 14.4 percent - are likely to make a runoff, according to the latest poll by the University of Costa Rica.

In third place is the candidate from the Citizen's Action Party, Luis Guillermo Solis, with 11.6 percent.

As the poll has a margin of error of 3.46 percent and the number of undecided voters is at more than 33 percent, the outcome is currently a tossup.

Some 3,500 public security forces will be deployed across the country to secure the voting process.

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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