Carlos Alvarado, 38, has beat conservative opponent Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz, 43, in Costa Rica’s presidential race. Throughout his campaign, Alvarado fought for tolerance and commitment to legalize same-sex marriage. Muñoz, on the other hand, wanted to prevent marriage equality and restrict abortion access for women.
Marriage equality had been a divisive issue in Costa Rica after a January ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights required member countries to allow same-sex marriage. This caused political figures like Muñoz to galvanize religious conservatives and campaign for traditional values. “The whole race was transformed literally overnight,” Kevin Casas-Zamora, a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, told the Washington Post.
Upon winning, Alvarado, a former labor minister and fiction writer, said: “My commitment is to a government for everybody, in equality and liberty for a more prosperous future. There is much more that unites us than divides us.”
Alvarado earned 61% of votes and will be Costa Rica’s youngest president when he takes office in May. Epsy Campbell will also be the country’s first Afro-Costa Rican to serve as vice president.