Costa Rica's presidential campaign has become quite tense in the lead-up to the February 7 elections, but it also has turned rather goofy.
One of the latest displays of wackiness took the form of a lie detector test, which several leading candidates actually agreed to take on national television.
I was eating dinner at a Japanese restaurant here on the east side of
"Have you profited in any way while carrying out your duties for which you could be legally charged?" a moderator asked Guevara, 49, of the Libertarian Movement. "Have you lied to the media during your election campaign?" she asked.
Guevara replied "No" to both, and the machine gave him a green light—Canal 7 told viewers he was telling the truth. The front-runner in the campaign, National Liberation Party's (PLN) Laura Chinchilla, refused to participate in the televised interrogation. Guevara is in second place in the polls, hovering at or under 30 percent. Not to miss the opportunity to capitalize on the polygraph test, he bought a two-page spread in national newspapers that boasted he is the only honest candidate in the race.
Costa Ricans’ confidence in the administration of President Óscar Arias has reached its lowest level in four years according to a poll released by Unimer Research International. An approval rating index maintained by the firm showed a significant drop in the first month of 2010 to 1,697 from 2,260 in November 2009. A drop in voter satisfaction was recorded in a range of areas from the government’s management of public funds to the president’s own performance.
The results come three weeks from Costa Rica’s February 7 elections during which Arias’ successor will be decided. Polls indicate that Laura Chinchilla, who resigned as vice-president in the Arias administration to run for president, is the leading candidate. However, it is likely she will face a runoff election against presidential hopeful Otto Guevara. It seems unlikely that Ms. Chinchilla will suffer due to her past association to the current administration, as both candidates are using the growing dissatisfaction with President Arias to bolster their own campaigns.
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.