Half of ballots in Costa Rica election to be recounted

February 5, 2010

Elections officials announced Tuesday that they will be manually recounting at least half of the votes in Sunday´s presidential election after finding discrepancies in some of the ballots.

Luis A. Sobrado, president of the Supreme Elections Tribunal, said he doubts it could alter the final count, but is undertaking the process “to remove any doubts or suspicions.”

Any number of reasons could prompt the recount, Sobrado said, including discrepancies between the tally of voters and the number of ballots, questionable markings or the missing signatures of a sufficient number of election observers.

“We expect one vote to be invalid here, another to be void over there, but in the end, we think it would be unusual for (the recount) to modify the results,” Sobrado said.

However, the results for the Legislative Assembly “could generate surprises” in the coming week as more than 10 percent of the congressional vote has yet to be counted, Sobrado said. The results of the vote for the legislature will be confirmed after elections officials complete the presidential count, which he expects to take place next week.

As of the latest tallies, National Liberation Party candidate Laura Chinchilla had 46.7 percent of the vote, Citizen Action Party candidate Ottón Solís had 25.1 and Libertarian Movement´s Otto Guevara had 20.9. The 57-seat Legislative Assembly was split with 23 going to the National Liberation Party, 11 to the Citizen Action Party, 10 to the Libertarian Movement, six to the Social Christian Unity Party, four to Accessibility Without Exclusion and one each going to the Broad Front Party, the Costa Rican Renovation Party and the National Restoration Party.

Speaking on the Radio Monumental on Tuesday, President Oscar Arias said Costa Rica´s voting in its first female president “a dream come true.”

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