In Costa Rica, former president takes early lead in election

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — A former Costa Rican president took an early lead in Sunday’s national election in what had been a wide-open field of 25 candidates.

José María Figueres, who was the country’s president from 1994 to 1998, had 30.3 percent of the vote in preliminary results released by the Supreme Elections Tribunal Sunday night with 13 percent of the votes counted. Figueres is the candidate for the National Liberation Party.

If no candidate captures at least 40 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held April 3 between the top two vote-getters.

Figueres was trailed by Fabricio Alvarado, who lost to President Carlos Alvarado four years ago, with 17.9 percent for his New Republic party, Rodrigo Chávez of Social Democratic Progress with 15.6 percent and former vice president Lineth Saborio for Christian Social Unity with 15 percent. Any of the three could potentially face Figueres in the second round of voting.

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