Latin America’s Shifting Politics: The Fading of Costa Rica’s Old Parties

Issue Date October 2018
Volume 29
Issue 4
Page Numbers 43-53
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The small Central American country of Costa Rica has been celebrated for its vigorous democracy. Elections have been long dominated by two political parties: the National Liberation Party (PLN) and the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). On 4 February 2018, however, an election was held with a surprising outcome. The winner of the first round was Fabricio Alvarado, an evangelical Christian singer and preacher from the small National Restoration Party (PRN). In a runoff vote held on 1 April 2018, Carlos Alvarado from the Citizens’ Action Party (PAC) prevailed. The election was evidence of the two traditional parties’ decline and a resulting political fragmentation. Politically, Costa Rica has become less predictable and more difficult to govern.