San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's presidential hopefuls to debate on live TV

The Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) on Jan. 5 and 6 will hold official debates with all candidates looking to become the next president of Costa Rica. Elections are less than a month away, slated for Feb. 2.

Each two-hour debate will start at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Sinart Channel 13.

In order to include all 13 presidential candidates TSE opted to divide them into two groups in the order they will be placed on the ballots. 

On Sunday the debate will feature Héctor Monestel (Workers Party), José Miguel Corrales (New Homeland Party), Luis Guillermo Solís (Citizens Action Party), Carlos Avendaño (National Restoration Party), Otto Guevara (Libertarian Movement) and Walter Muñoz (National Integration Party).

Óscar López (Accessibility without Exclusion Party), José María Villalta (Broad Front Party), José Manuel Echandi (National Progress Party), Johnny Araya (National Liberation Party), Justo Orozco (Costa Rican Renovation), Rodolfo Piza (Social Christian Unity Party) and Sergio Mena (New Generation Party) will face off at Monday’s debates.

The two frontrunners in the polls, Villalta and Araya, will debate Monday. The third and fourth place candidates – Guevara and Solís – go on Sunday. The National University hosted the first presidential debate last October, which only included the six candidates leading opinion polls.

The debates also can be followed online at Channel 13’s website:

UPDATE: TSE Director of the “Informed Voter Program” Mariela Castro responded to The Tico Times on how the debate’s format will work. 

Castro said the debate will not be open to the public. However people can send in questions through TSE social media at and

Candidates will respond to questions in three distinct segments. The first will include questions prepared by a group of academics and professionals, and vetted by the TSE. The second batch will consist of questions posted on social media. Castro said debate organizers will choose the “most precise and clear ones” to ask. The last round will have each candidate ask a question to his fellow presidential hopefuls. The order of the questions for the last round will be decided in a draw minutes before the debate begins.

Contact L. Arias at

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