Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Right to the wire

The Costa Rican election - widely expected to be won by former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias - has turned into a nailbiter. With 88% of the vote counted, Arias leads his main rival, Otton Solis, by only 3000 votes - and the trend is going against him (it was 9000 votes when 77% of the votes had been counted). Now, they're looking at a manual recount. Final results will be known in two weeks.

Arias is nominally social democratic, but in reality a neo-liberal. Solis is a left-wing populist reformer, in the same broad school as Lula, Evo Morales, and (when he's not being an authoritarian) Hugo Chavez. If the latter manages a win, we can expect more screaming from the US about how Latin Americans are electing the "wrong" governments - and a lot of worried eyes on the Mexican elections in July. But that's democracy for you...