Costa Rica leftist easily wins presidential run-off

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Luis Guillermo Solis, presidential candidate of the Citizens' Action Party, smiles during a walk in San JoseBy Alexandra Alper SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) – A center-left academic who has never held elected office easily won Costa Rica’s presidential election on Sunday, ousting the graft-stained ruling party from power after its candidate quit campaigning a month ago. Former diplomat Luis Guillermo Solis, of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), won with around 78 percent of votes by tapping in to public anger at rising inequality and government corruption scandals. “More than 1 million Costa Ricans have said yes to change,” Solis told thousands of cheering supporters waving red-and-yellow party flags on Sunday night. “We need to shift away from … a violence expressed in poverty, in inequality and in the utterly perverse form of corruption.” Solis was a relative unknown just a few months ago but he defied pollsters’ predictions by coming in ahead of his rivals in a first round of voting in February, and then took a huge lead in opinion polls ahead of the run-off.

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