Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado are now competing to win Costa Rica’s presidency in the second round of voting. This past Sunday’s election showed a profound change in Costa Rica’s political map and the popular response to the country’s marginalized areas. The election also confirmed the huge impact of religion-driven voters, who represented half a million votes (24,9%) in representation of the growing and dynamic evangelic sector combined with the indispensable support of conservative forces within traditional Catholicism, the majority in Costa Rica. The former journalist, Pentecostal preacher and legislator Fabricio Alvarado now symbolizes something much bigger than just his small party, National Restoration, which was founded by the pastor Carlos Avendaño after political disagreements with former legislator Justo Orozco. He also represents the evangelical churches that work tirelessly through prayers and social work to promote a “pro-life and pro-family” political agenda, which the Catholic Church has boosted less and less with each election.
The evangelical candidate, 43, who never before expressed political ambition, has demonstrated the consequences of the drop in popular support for traditional parties.
The election also rearranged the map for parties that do not draw on ideologies of discrimination: the Broad Front went from nine legislators to one, and Otto Guevara’s Libertarian Movement is out after 20 years of parliamentary presence. As for the historically dominant National Liberation Party (PLN), they saw their dominance of rural territories snatched away. The center of the country turned toward the Citizen Action Party (PAC), which is no longer an alternative force and seeks to stay in power.