COSTA RICA

Diapers and puppets to sway voters

Costa Rica has long been regarded as one of the most politically and economically stable countries in Latin America, but its presidential elections this year seem to have run awry due to a heavy dose of negative campaigning. Voters have never seen a political campaign like it. Read more and watch the videos...

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Costa Rica has long been regarded as one of the most politically and economically stable countries in Latin America, but its presidential elections this year seem to have run awry due to a heavy dose of negative campaigning. Voters had never seen a political campaign like it.

On February 7, Costa Ricans will head to the polls to decide who will succeed Oscar Arias, a charismatic Nobel Peace Prize winner and two time president. Arias's former vice-president, Laura Chinchilla, seems poised to succeed him and become the country's first female president. In most polls she appears very close to the 40% needed to claim a victory in the first round.

In the meantime, rival candidates have resorted to negative campaigning and personal attacks to gain momentum and force a run-off election.

Naked spot for Otto Guevara

Postée sur YouTube par Ottoguevara2010

Otto Guevara has been busy playing on peoples fears in an effort to make law and order the central issue. With the country seeing its highest homicide rate since records began in 2008 (11 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants), many Costa Ricans have been swayed by Guevara's promises of being strong on crime.

Luis Fishman's eccentric campaign

Postée sur YouTube par keysmaker

Luis Fishman, in a distant fourth place, has embraced the most eccentric of strategies. He has tried to strike a humorous tone by proclaiming himself "the least bad" of the candidates.

"I will vote for Luis / My baby will soon arrive / The least bad one is the best one / That's why I'll elect him/ He is the best one! / Realistic, honest, I believe in him.../ In February my vote for Luis! /I will support him / With flags, a party and / Honking I will celebrate / I will follow him / For him I will vote / He is the best one!"

"Everyone knows the political ads have been terrible, but in the end most Costa Ricans pick their candidate based on the debates"

Grettel Navas is a student of international relations at the National University in San José.

The campaign has completely veered off course. When Chinchilla started climbing in the polls, and with many people still undecided, the axes started flying. Candidates have been either attacking her or defending themselves, instead of presenting their proposals.

Chinchilla is not a divisive figure and her results in office have been good, so rival candidates have sought to attack her on the grounds that she doesn't have enough experience and that her whole political career has been as Arias's deputy. They're trying to strengthen the idea that voting for Chinchilla is a vote for Arias and for continuity. In the puppet ad, the president can be easily recognised as the person moving her strings because of his characteristic big ears.

Law and order problem exist, but it isn't as bad as Guevara makes it out to be. He made it his talking point because he knows it worries everyone, and because he has really struggled on other issues. [Costa Rica's homicide rate is still three times lower than the Central American average and has historically been similar to the European average].

Fishman's ‘least bad candidate' campaign is an insult to the intelligence of Costa Ricans. He's basically telling us he's bad. Nobody takes him seriously anyway: he is seen as the clown and everyone makes fun of him. He's simply running by default, since his party's original pick - a former president - was convicted on corruption charges.

Everyone here knows the political commercials have been terrible, but fortunately in the end most Costa Ricans pick their candidate based on the debates and not on the advertising."

The "least bad" one is the best one: Fishman

Postée sur YouTube par fusildechispas.

"The least bad" candidate, spot for Luis Fishman

"Who will you vote for on February 7th? / For the least worst one.... (every one repeats the same line) / Fishman, the least bad candidate..."

Puppet spot for Candidate Ottón Solís

Postée sur YouTube par ottonpresidente

Ottón Solís has tried to present Chinchilla as President Arias's puppet

"Miss Laura, do you agree with open-pit mining? Yessssss (whispered to her)..... Yes / And with continuing to import rice and beans? Yes..... Yes... / Should the new people's ombudsman resign? No..... No..... / Miss Laura, in which direction will you lead us? The same as now: forward, forward..... Forward! / Ottón Solís, because there is another way of governing."