Costa Rica: Laura Chinchilla Elected First Woman President

On Sunday, February 7, 2010 the people of Costa Rica went to the polls and elected the first woman president in its history, Laura Chinchilla, of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN, for its initials in Spanish). According to official data provided by the Supreme Court Elections (TSE) won by a wide margin of cast votes. Chinchilla won 46.78% of the votes and defeated her main rival, Ottón Solis of the Citizens Action Party (PAC), who received 25.11%. The elections were conducted without incident, as the blog Elections 2014-2018 [es] (the dates were updated to reflect the next election) who writes:

Las elecciones se celebraron en un ambiente de fiesta, como lo marca la tradición en esta nación centroamericana en los últimos 50 años y que es considerada una de las democracias más sólidas y antiguas de América Latina.

The elections were held in a festive atmosphere, as is tradition in this Central American nation during the past 50 years and is considered to be one of the oldest and most solid democracies in Latin America.

The reactions of bloggers about Chinchilla’s victory did not wait. Some offered their analysis of the facts, others their opinions. An example analysis is provided by Cristian Cambronero in his blog Fusil de Chispas [es], who writes that Chinchilla's party also won the highest number of seats in the Assembly:

Según la proyecciones hasta la media noche del domingo, la próxima Asamblea, compuesta por 57 diputados, quería conformada por PLN 24 diputados del oficialista PLN (centro-derecha), 10 del opositor PAC (centro-izquierda), 10 del derechista Movimiento Libertario, 6 del PUSC (derecha), 4 del PASE, 1 del Frente Amplio (Izquierda), y 2 diputados de partidos de fuerte raíz religiosa-conservadora: 1 de Restauración Nacional y 1 de Renovación Costarricense.

According to the projections up to midnight Sunday, the next Assembly, composed of 57 deputies, would be composed of 24 deputies of the ruling PLN (center right), 10 from the opposition PAC (center left), 10 of the right Libertarian Movement, PUSC 6 (right), 4 of PASE, 1 of the Broad Front (Left) and 2 members of religious parties strong conservative roots: 1 of National Restoration and 1 of Costa Rican Renovation.

Video by YouTube user manrikecr with scenes from around San Carlos, Costa Rica:

Returning to the election of the president, views are mixed. For some bloggers, the idea of political continuity of National Liberation Party (PLN) is not encouraging, as expressed in the blog Conoche San Jose de Noche [es], who writes:

En mi humilde criterio se vienen cuatro años más de lo mismo de los últimos 25 años, donde el pobre se hace cada vez más pobre y el rico continua llenando sus bolsillos a costa del sudor de sus “colaboradores”, además claro el pueblo con su voto dio permiso a que los diputados sigan paseando en avioneta y escribiendo memorándums de terror para el pueblo.

In my humble view, four more years of the same is on its way and which have been happening over the past 25 years, where the poor are becoming poorer and the rich continue to fill their pockets at the expense of the sweat of his “friends,” of course the people with their vote gave the deputies permission to continue riding in airplane and writing terror memos for the people.

The victory of the PLN is seen as a blow to the leftist supporters, as described by the author of the blog El Mae del Bajo [es] who writes:

Ha llegado la hora para que la izquierda se una, esta elección ha manifestado la necesidad de una gran coalición de partidos de izquierda, solo así se formara un gran frente de lucha en contra de los neoliberales, pero si los mezquinos dirigente de estos partidos se niegan a unirse el único camino que les queda es la disolución, abran los ojos ante esta realidad…

The time has come for the left to unite, this election has shown the necessity of a broad coalition of leftist parties, and only in that manner will a broad front be created to fight against neo-liberals, but if the petty leaders of these parties refuse to join, the only path that remains is to dissolve, they need to open up their eyes to this reality…

Although there are abundant feelings of disappointment over the election in the blogosphere, such as from Julia Ardón, who writes about Chinchilla's victory [es]:

No me siento representada por ella. Es raro. Lloré cuando Michelle llegó a la presidencia en Chile. Pero ahorita, cuando ella dió su discurso de aceptación la escuché con atención y no sentí nada. No sé si eran los jingles que la interrumpían, no sé si era la redacción de su discurso. No sé si es que me siento muy lejos de sus ideas y de quienes la colocaron como candidata. No sé. Pero no me conecté con su corazón. No pude.

I don't feel represented by her. It is odd. I cried when Michelle (Bachelet) was elected President of Chile. But now, when she (Chinchilla) gave her acceptance speech, I listened attentively and I didn't feel anything. I don't know if it was the jingles that kept interrupting, of if it was how her speech was written. I don't know if it is because I feel far from her ideas and who placed her as a candidate. I don't know. But, I don't connect with her heart. I couldn't.

However, there are other bloggers calling for respect of the choice of the majority, which is what the blogger known as Wolverine wrote:

Ya es nuestra presidente, démosle oportunidad de demostrar su independencia y probar que ella es bastante capaz como mujer de llevar a cabo y ejercer satisfactoriamente su cargo como Presidenta de Costa Rica y superar las expectativas del pueblo, al fin y al cabo Costa Rica somos todos los ticos, no solo el Presidente y su comitiva

She is now our president, give her a chance to demonstrate her independence and prove that she is quite capable as a woman to go forward and to exercise in a satisfactory manner the office as President of Costa Rica and exceed the expectations of the people, after all, in Costa Rica we are all “ticos” (Costa Ricans), not only the President and her party.

Roy Rojas contributed to this story.

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