Costa Rica Elects First Female President

'Today we are making history': Laura Chinchilla
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 8, 2010 4:40 AM CST
Costa Rica Elects First Female President
Costa Rica's National Liberation Party candidate Laura Chinchilla gives a thumb up to supporters after voting at a polling station during presidential elections in San Jose, Feb. 7, 2010.   (Esteban Felix)

Costa Ricans have elected their first female president: Ruling party candidate Laura Chinchilla won in a landslide after campaigning to continue free-market policies in Central America's most stable nation. "Today we are making history," said Chinchilla, who will become the fifth Latin American woman to serve as president. "The Costa Rican people have given me their confidence, and I will not betray it."

Chinchilla, the protege of the current president, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias, promised to pursue the same economic policies that helped insulate Costa Rica from the world economic crisis. Critics of the Arias government contend it catered to big developers to boost the economy at the cost of the nation's fragile ecosystems. But most Costa Ricans were reluctant to shake up the status quo in a country with relatively high salaries, the longest life expectancy in Latin America, thriving ecotourism and near-universal literacy. (More Laura Chinchilla stories.)

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