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With Solis, Costa Ricans Signal Readiness for Change

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On May 9, 2014, Guillermo Solis became Costa Rica’s 47th president. His ascension to the office marked the end to one of the country’s most unusual election cycles in recent memory. Solis succeeds Laura Chinchilla, who departed office with the lowest presidential approval rating in the hemisphere, at one point as low as 9 percent. During Chinchilla’s four years in office (2010-2014), her administration was dogged by corruption scandals, tensions with Nicaragua and a growing deficit. How Solis will manage Costa Rica’s mounting difficulties remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Costa Ricans are ready for change.

Chinchilla, Costa Rica’s first female president, entered office with considerable popular support. Having served for two years as vice president under Oscar Arias, whose own term lasted from 2006 to 2010, Chinchilla seemed a promising successor for the historic National Liberation Party (PLN). Her ambitious agenda targeted public security, tax reform, education and the environment. But her honeymoon was short-lived; polls revealed skepticism about her leadership after her first 100 days in office. ...

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