An anti-gay marriage candidate holds the lead in Costa Rica’s presidential election, but he is falling short of the threshold to avoid the runoff.
With about 70 percent of the ballots counted, Christian singer and television anchor Fabricio Alvarado of the right-wing National Restoration Party had received 25 percent of the vote, according to the tally published by the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
Alvarado's nearest rival was Carlos Alvarado Quesada of the governing Citizens' Action Party (no relation to his same-named opponent), a former labor minister with 21 percent of the vote.
Final results of the first round are expected Monday.
Thirteen candidates were looking to succeed outgoing President Luis Guillermo Solis, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second consecutive term. Since no candidate seems likely to win 40 percent of the vote, the two leading contenders will meet in an April 1 runoff election.
Polls show about two-thirds of Costa Ricans oppose same-sex marriage, although gay and lesbian couples can marry in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and parts of Mexico.
There are 3.3 million eligible voters in Costa Rica. They are predominantly Roman Catholic and often describe themselves as conservative.