Costa Rica’s presidential election will be decided in a runoff on the first Sunday in April after no candidates secured the 40% of the popular vote to be declared a winner.

Fabricio Alvarado

In the April 1, Costa Ricans will have to decide between the top two vote-getters, Fabricio Alvarado of the Partido Restoracion Nacional (PRN) and the Carlos Alvarado — no relation — of the Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC).

Carlos Alvarado

In the February 4 election, Fabricio Alvarado won 24.91%, while Carlos Alvarado 21.33%. Antonio Desanti Alvarez of the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) placed third with 18.62%, the others: Rodolfo Pisa (PUSC) 16.02%; Juan Diego Castro (PIN) 9.52%; Rodolfo Hernandez (Republicano) 4.95%; Otto Guevara (Movimiento Libertario) 1.02%; the balance divided up between the 6 other candidates.

Desanti said he had been left blindsided by the quick rise of Fabricio Alvarado.

Absenteeism was 34%.

Source: TSE

While both Alavardos have a common background in music — Fabricio, a 43-year-old journalist with a prominent career as a preacher and Christian singer and Carlos, 37 years old, sang in a progressive rock band — their politics are very different. Fabricio is a right-wing opponent of same-sex marriage, while Carlos is considered a center-left supporter of same-sex marriage.

Fabricio said he would withdraw Costa Rica from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights should be elected. “People said, ‘This is the person that I want to defend us in the face of international impositions,’” he said.

The 2018 Presidential election was dominated by the issue of same-sex marriage after the international court ruling said Costa Rica should allow same-sex marriage.

For deeply Roman Catholic Costa Rica, the gay marriage ruling came as an “external shock” to the campaign, political analyst Francisco Barahona told The Associated Press.