Updated 07:34 PM EST, Mon, Feb 27, 2017
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National Liberation Party Wins Majority Seats in Costa Rica's Local Elections

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2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying - Costa Rica v Cuba
VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 19: Costa Rican fans hold their contry's flag during the game against Cuba at the 2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament at BC Place on January 19, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo : Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

The National Liberation Party won 47 of the 81 seats in the local elections, while the Citizen Action Party, which currently governs the country, only managed to win six.

These are the preliminary results presented by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, outlining wins from the National Liberation Party as the victor, followed by the Social Christian Unity Party with 16 wins.

Telesur TV noted that Costa Rica's dismal voter turnout during elections has always been one of the things that the government wanted to change, and the National Liberation Party President Jose Maria Figueres said that he's "quite happy" with the results, despite the high abstention rates. He also told Prensa Latina, "We have proven that we are not a finished party with any future even though we came from our worst national defeat."

The local elections, however, proves that Costa Ricans feel strongly about their democratic rights. Caribbean News noted that the preliminary reports and observations, as presented by the Organization of American States Electoral Observation Mission (OAS/EOM), said that the OAS should be congratulated for "the prompt and reliable transmission of preliminary results within the context of a new electoral process, where all the local authorities in the country were elected on the same day for the first time, during the mid-term of the presiding government."

The mission also highlighted the role played by all the actors in the electoral process, expressing their appreciation of the spirit of cooperation by the OAS and the electoral authorities. The effectivity of the elections were thanks to the initiative of the electoral tribunal to inform and encourage their citizens to participate in the process.

Still, the voter turnout is still low and Costa Rica wants to one day improve on that. At this point, as noted by Prensa Latina, only 35 percent of all the registered voters took the time to vote in the local elections even though it will define about 6,000 public positions in the municipal government -- positions that include mayors, deputy mayors, and even trustees.

Why the turnout, though? Political analyst Constantino Urcuyo said "People don't feel that the municipal governments have much impact on their lives," per Tico Times

In reality, these municipal government positions that they didn't care too much to vote for were the ones in charge with maintaining their streets, handling wastewater and trash, and giving construction and business permits.

Still, this year's turnout, which accounts for 70 percent of the registered number of voters, is still better than the 20 percent that named their leaders in 2010.

 

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