On Easter Sunday, Costa Rican voters surprised election watchers from around the region, electing the pre-vote underdog, Carlos Alvarado, in a landslide over the divisive Fabricio Alvarado (no relation).
In the build-up to the election, domestic and international experts had predicted a victory for minister-turned-politician Fabricio Alvarado, who had run a conservative campaign defined by the issue of same-sex marriage rights. Fabricio shot to the top of polls in the buildup to February’s first round elections after staking out a place as the main opposition to a controversial Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling urging the Costa Rican government to extend equal rights to same-sex couples.
Fabricio was bullish, even cocky, about his own chances in the days before the vote, predicting that he’d receive over one million votes. As results began to come in on Sunday evening, it was clear that hubris would rear her ugly—ahem, beautiful—head again. Voters resoundingly rejected Fabricio’s firebrand social conservatism, opting for Carlos by more than 20 percent.
Sunday’s vote may have seen Costa Ricans choosing between the lesser of two evils—Carlos, a member of the incumbent party, inherits a presidency that has been mired in scandal in recent years—but it’s heartening to see ticos opt for decency in a region desperate for some consistent, level-headed leaders.