Polls open in Costa Rica's one-candidate presidential vote

Polls open in Costa Rica's one-candidate presidential vote

SAN JOSE - Voting got under way in Costa Rica on Sunday, where historian and former diplomat Luis Guillermo Solis faced no opposition in the country's presidential run-off election.

His lone rival in the race, conservative contender Johnny Araya, dropped out last month after polls showed he would be soundly defeated, giving the centrist Solis an easy glide path toward victory in the election to lead this country of some five million people.

As the candidate of the moderate Citizen Action Party, Solis, 55, was a surprise winner of the first-round vote on February 2 from a field of four.

His popularity continued to surge and by early March a poll showed him with nearly a 45 per cent lead over Araya.

With his path wide open, Solis is set to become the first third-party candidate to win the Costa Rican presidency in 50 years.

Corruption scandals and economic crises under outgoing President Laura Chinchilla, the first woman leader of this Central American country, have weakened the old two-party system, political analysts said.

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