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    Historical Abstentionism in the Costa Rican Presidential Elections

    The Reasons Go Beyond The Pandemic

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    With 88% of polling stations counted, the abstention rate in the Costa Rican National Elections on Sunday would be over 40.29%, the highest in the last seven elections or in the last 24 years.

    Although in many sectors of the Greater Metropolitan Area there were lines from the early hours of the morning to vote, the truth is that a large part of the population wanted to leave a message.

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    The reasons for the phenomenon of abstentionism on February 6th could be many, but political analysts list what is considered to be the three main ones:

    • One of them is the pandemic and the fear that the population might have of catching Covid-19 if they went to the polls.
    • The other element that could weigh according to Araya is that despite the fact that there were 25 candidates for the Presidency of the Republic, the campaign never heated up.
    • Finally, that “the undecided, who were a large majority, made the decision not to vote.”

    “So much electoral offer, far from generating passion, generated stress, anger and then that could have made the decision not to vote,” say the analysts. Part of the great responsible for that 40% of abstentionism are the candidates themselves, for not worrying about “knowing the voters well, and not understanding them.”

    The coasts with fewer voters

    Puntarenas, Limón and Guanacaste were the three provinces with the highest abstention rates. Precisely, they are the provinces that always demand abandonment by the government and the political parties. In Puntarenas the percentage of abstention is 50.89%; in Limón it reaches 49.29% and Guanacaste registers 47.51%, all above the national average.

    “The provinces that have the most abstentionism are always the same, they are the coastal ones, perhaps showing that they are tired of the abandonment of the State,” say analysts.

    More reasons

    José María Figueres from Liberación Nacional and Rodrigo Chaves from Progreso Social Democrático reached the second round in first and second place, respectively. Both spoke of abstentionism and what they consider could have happened so that more than 1.5 million people decided not to go to the polls.

    “That is understandable. Having 25 candidates does not stop being a confusion for many people”, said the liberationist. “All of this in the midst of a pandemic, with the number of infections, it makes complete sense” he added about what he considers could have happened.

    For his part, Chaves considers that the population no longer trusts politicians. “Costa Ricans are largely distrustful, they have lied to us a lot, there has been a performance of many administrations that has been owed and people may have lost the credibility of the system,” he said.

    Now Costa Ricans will have to go out and vote on April 3rd to decide between these two options for the president. Will abstentionism increase or decrease?

    Resonance Costa Rica

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