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Costa Rica Elects First Woman President

08 February 2010

Ruling party candidate Laura Chinchilla has become Costa Rica's first woman president with a landslide victory in Sunday's voting.

Election results showed Chinchilla with 47% of the votes cast, more than 20 percentage points ahead her closest rival. Her main opponents quickly conceded defeat.

Chinchilla -- who served as vice president under outgoing President Oscar Arias -- needed a total vote of 40% to avoid a runoff election.

Chinchilla campaigned on promises to continue Mr. Arias's business-friendly policies and to take measures to curb rising crime.

Costa Ricans also chose a new legislature and municipal leaders Sunday.

Chinchilla's main challengers were Otto Guevara, who called for tax cuts and adopting the U.S. dollar as Costa Rica's currency, and economist Otton Solis, who proposed renegotiating the Central America Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Solis received 25% of the vote, while Guevara had about 21%.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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