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Costa Rica Holds Presidential Election Sunday


Voters in Costa Rica head to the polls Sunday to cast ballots in a presidential election.

Former President Oscar Arias of the National Liberation Party leads opinion polls over his center-left rival, Otton Solis, of the Citizens Action Party. The polls indicate Arias will win more than the minimum 40 percent of votes for a first-round victory.

The 65-year-old Arias was president from 1986 to 1990. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for mediating conflicts in Central America.

Arias wants Costa Rica to join the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States -- a move the 51-year-old Solis opposes. Costa Rica is the only country within the CAFTA grouping of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic that has not ratified the pact.

Today's election comes amid voter discontent over corruption in politics, and voter turnout is expected to be low. Three former presidents have been investigated in bribery and corruption scandals.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.