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Gay marriage question could define Costa Rican election

March 29, 2018

Presidential candidate Fabricio Alvarado, with the National Restoration party, presents his government plan in San Jose, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Costa Rica will hold a presidential runoff election on April 1. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — With its cities empty and beaches full for Holy Week vacations, Costa Rica is preparing for a presidential election pitting a ruling party candidate against an upstart evangelical pastor who has campaigned against same-sex marriage.

Voters will choose Sunday between Carlos Alvarado of the ruling Citizen Action Party and Fabricio Alvarado of National Restoration. A recent poll indicated a statistical tie in the second-round runoff vote.

Religious conservatives rallied around Fabricio Alvarado after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights said Costa Rica should allow same-sex marriage.

It has become the most divisive issue in the election. Fabricio Alvarado has been accused of homophobia, while Carlos Alvarado’s surprise arrival in the runoff was based in large part on his support for same-sex marriage.

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