Antonio Alvarez Desanti, the PLN choice for the 2018 presidential elections

Q COSTA RICA – After a short but intense campaign, on Sunday the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) held its convention to elect a candidate for the 2018 presidential elections.

Although voting ended by 6:00pm Sunday night, the definitive, but not final, results weren’t available until a few minutes before noon on Monday, leaving both the leading candidates, Antonio Alvarez Desanti and former President Jose Maria Figueres Olsen (1994-1998) , and the some 500,000 PLN’ers who voted on Sunday, in total suspense.

With only 30% of the votes manually counted, Alvarez, with 45.5% of the popular vote, maintained his lead over Figueres with 38.9%. The 11:45am results weren’t much different from the results at 3:36am.

Shortly before noon, with only 30% of the votes counted, former President Jose Maria Figueres Olsen conceded the PLN 2018 presidential nomination to Alvarez

Minutes later, in a press conference, Figueres, who returned to Costa Rica in November 2011, after living in Europe for almost a decade, with the purpose of reentering national politics, accepted defeat.

“I consider this campaign at a close. Liberacion has chosen don Antonio Alvarez Desanti, I congratulate him. We gave put all our meant on the grill (sic). One the PLN is able to carry out a campaign like this,” said Figueres.

At 5:00 am Monday morning the voting ballots continued to pour in at Balcon Verde in La Sabana, for a manual count of almost 500,000 votes cast the day before

Late last evening Figueres was quoted as saying, “tomorrow we win”.

This morning, Alvarez, although clearly demonstrating his dissatisfaction with the process – the slow vote count and the fact that PLN internal elections committee had decided to call it a night around 2:00am, leaving the candidates, the voters and the public in general in total suspense.

In an early morning statement to the press carried live on the morning news, Alvarez said he was satisfied after the elections committee decided to accede to his request to work through the night and the addition of scrutinizers during the manual vote count. This last point led Alvarez to later retract is accusation of “voter fraud”.

When his communication chief, Roberto Gallardo, announced that Figueres was recognizing his defeat, Alvarez asked the press for privacy to listen to his opponent’s press conference and announced that he would be giving his victory speech at 4:00pm today.