In Costa Rica, conservative gets thumbs down in presidential runoff

Carlos Alvarado addresses a crowd in February in San Jose, Costa Rica.

(CNN)Costa Rican voters soundly rejected a presidential candidate who campaigned on social conservative issues on Sunday, instead voting overwhelmingly for a well-known political figure and writer.

A former minister from the ruling center-left party, Carlos Alvarado, 38, repelled a challenge from Fabricio Alvarado, a 43-year-old evangelical Christian preacher, in a run-off election in the 5 million population Central American nation.
Fabricio Alvarado
In results from more than 95% of polling stations, Alvarado of the Citizens' Action Party received 60.74% of the vote and Fabricio Alvarado of the National Restoration Party garnered 39.26%, the Supreme Court of Elections said.
The count on Monday shows that Carlos Alvarado got more than 1.2 million votes and Fabricio Alvarado received more than 828,000.
    The men, who are not related, faced off in the runoff after the first round of voting in February.
    Even though counting is continuing, the margin is so wide that Fabricio Alvarado called his opponent, conceded and congratulated him for the victory.
    President Luis Guillermo Solís also congratulated Carlos Alvarado, who will serve a four-year term. The new president will be sworn in May 8.
    A noted novelist and former journalist, Carlos Alvarado served as minister of social development and minister of labor in the Solís government.
    His campaign focused on issues such as the economy, the environment, education and human rights, and he called for a "government for everyone."
    Fabricio Alvarado, who is a journalist and Christian musician, favored the rejection of gay marriage and promoted evangelical values. According to the CIA World Factbook, Costa Rica is 76.3% Roman Catholic. Evangelical Christianity is the second most-populous religion at 13.7%.
    The country has made great strides in infrastructure, health care and education and its poverty rate "is lower than in most Latin American countries," the Factbook said.