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Costa Rica Faces Runoff With Anti-Gay Marriage Candidate Leading

  • Same-sex marriage replaced economy as main topic of contention
  • Evangelical candidate support surged in last weeks of campaign
 Fabricio Alvarado

 Fabricio Alvarado

Photographer: Ezeguiel Becerra/AFP via Getty Images

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An evangelical lawmaker and a candidate from Costa Rica’s ruling party look set to face each other in a runoff vote to choose the country’s next president, following a first round in which same-sex marriage supplanted the economy as the most potent issue.

Fabricio Alvarado, who argued against any change to the marriage laws, was ahead with 24.8 percent after 89 percent of polling stations had reported, according to the electoral authority. Ruling party candidate Carlos Alvarado, who is no relation, trailed in second place with 21.8 percent of the votes. Since none of the candidates exceeded the minimum threshold of 40 percent to avoid a second round, a runoff vote will take place on April 1.