(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Laura Chinchilla remains the frontrunner ahead of this weekend’s presidential election in Costa Rica but her main opponent is gaining momentum, according to a poll by Demoscopía published in Al Día. 45.1 per cent of respondents would vote for the candidate of the governing Liberal National Party (PLN) in the upcoming ballot, down 1.5 points since December.

Otto Guevara of the Libertarian Movement (ML) is second with 30.1 per cent, up 10.6 points in a month. Former economy minister Ottón Solís of the Citizens Action Party (PAC) is third with 9.5 per cent, followed by Luis Fishman of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUCS) with 3.8 per cent.

Under current regulations, a presidential run-off would be required if none of the presidential candidates garner more than 40 per cent of the vote on election day.

The PLN’s Óscar Arias won the February 2006 presidential election with 40.92 per cent of all cast ballots. Solís finished in second place with 39.80 per cent. Arias had headed the government from 1986 to 1990, and was able to run again after the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly opted to bring back presidential re-election in 2003. He was sworn in for the second time in May 2006.

On Feb. 1, Guevara proposed holding an "official conversation on whether we [Costa Rica] should follow the steps of countries like Ecuador, El Salvador and Panama," which have dollarized economies, adding, "The Central Bank authorities have so far been completely incompetent in taking care of the value of the Costa Rican currency."

Costa Ricans will vote in a general election on Feb. 7.

Polling Data

Which of these candidates would you vote for in the 2010 presidential election?

 

Jan. 2010

Dec. 2009

Oct. 2009

Laura Chinchilla (PLN)

45.1%

46.6%

53.0%

Otto Guevara (ML)

30.1%

19.5%

15.7%

Ottón Solís (PAC)

9.5%

8.3%

12.3%

Luis Fishman (PUSC)

3.8%

4.1%

1.5%

Source: Demoscopía / Al Día
Methodology: Interviews with 1,209 Costa Rican adults, conducted from Jan. 20 to Jan. 26, 2010. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.