Chinchilla Elected 1st Woman President of Costa Rica

New Costa Rican President Laura ChinchillaRiding behind the endorsement of outgoing President Oscar Arias, Laura Chinchilla has become the first-ever woman to hold Costa Rica’s presidency. The 50-year-old former vice-president is leading all other presidential candidates with close to 50 percent of all votes with less than 20 percent of ballots still to be counted. Chinchilla’s victory became clear after second-running Otton Solis conceded defeat.

Chinchilla, who will take over from the Nobel Peace Laureate Arias, thanked her supporters and “the pioneering women who years ago opened the door of politics” in her country. She had promised during the campaign to focus on neutralizing drug syndicates that use Costa Rica as a transit country for their illegal activities. She has also vowed to increase Costa Rica’s involvement in international economic issues by forging trade agreements with other countries.

Chinchilla comes from a political family. She served as minister of public safety and justice, congressional deputy, and vice-president before her historic victory.