Alvarado vs. Alvarado: Costa Rica’s Conservative Backlash


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On Sunday, February 4th, Costa Ricans went to the polls to vote for all 57 members of the Legislative Assembly and in the first round of the presidential election. The result was broadly surprising: the top two finishers, the evangelical conservative candidate Fabricio Alvarado and the center-left ruling party candidate Carlos Alvarado (the two are not related), had previously polled in the middle of the pack. Perhaps most unexpected was Fabricio Alvarado’s victory, spurred by a groundswell of opposition to same-sex marriage after a decision last month by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights mandating recognition. The two candidates will now go to a runoff on April 1st. 

The Inter-American Dialogue is pleased to host an open conversation interpreting the outcome of the first round and the legislative elections, the prospects for the second round, and the long-term implications for Costa Rica’s politics and democracy. 

Follow this event on Twitter at #ElectionCR and @The_Dialogue.


Kevin Casas-Zamora

Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue; Former Vice President of Costa Rica (@KevinCasasZ)

Juan Carlos Hidalgo

Policy Analyst on Latin America, Cato Institute (@jchidalgo)


Michael Shifter

President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)