Costa Rica - Political parties

The largest political grouping is the PLN (Partido de Liberación Nacional—National Liberation Party), a reformist party that has been the nation's leading party since its formation in 1948. The other major party is the more conservative Social Christian Unity Party (Partido Unidad Social Cristiana—PUSC), which held the presidency during 1978–82, 1990–1994, and is in power in the 1998–2002 period. The PUSC has ties to Christian Democratic parties in the Western Hemisphere and Europe. There are also several minor parties. In the 1994 elections, José María Figueres of the PLN was elected president with 49.7% of the vote, to 47.5% for PUSC candidate Miguel Angel Rodriguez. In 1998, Rodríguez became president with 46.9% of the vote, defeating PLN's José Miguel Corrales. The PSUC also won a majority in Congress with 29 seats, followed by the PLN with 22, the remaining six seats went to small and provincial parties. In 2002, the PSUC presidential candidate, Abel Pacheco, obtained 38.6% of the vote in the first round and went on to win 58% in the runoff to become president. The PSUC only clinched 19 of the 57 seats of the National Assembly, depriving Pacheco of a legislative majority.

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