Costa Rican presidential race led by ex-leader, but wide open -poll

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Jose Maria Figueres, erstwhile president of Costa Rica, speaks astatine the motorboat of the 2nd Edition of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor study astatine the Asia Society, successful New York, September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East/File Photo

SAN JOSE, Nov 3 (Reuters) - A erstwhile president of Costa Rica leads the Central American country's statesmanlike race, but helium has lone humble enactment and galore voters are undecided astir which campaigner to choose, an sentiment canvass for the Feb. 6 contention showed connected Wednesday.

Among the 63% of respondents readying to vote, 48% person not yet picked a campaigner to regenerate President Carlos Alvarado, the Oct. 21-Nov. 2 survey of 940 voters by the University of Costa Rica's Center for Research and Political Studies (CIEP) showed.

Costa Rica bars presidents from seeking consecutive re-election.

The campaigner of the centrist National Liberation Party (PLN), Jose Maria Figueres, who was president from 1994 to 1998, led the polling with 19% support, good beneath the 40% threshold needed to triumph outright successful a archetypal circular of voting.

A runoff volition beryllium held successful April if necessary.

Figueres is followed by Lineth Saborio, campaigner of the blimpish Christian Social Unity Party (PUSC), with 8%; evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado, runner-up successful the 2018 statesmanlike election, with 5%; and congressman Jose Maria Villalta of the leftist Broad Front, with 4%.

Welmer Ramos, the campaigner of Alvarado's center-left Citizens' Action Party, had conscionable 2% of enactment among the 26 hopefuls competing, the highest fig successful Costa Rican history.

The CIEP survey said that with enactment truthful divided, determination appeared small accidental of a 2nd circular being averted.

Costa Ricans volition besides ballot for a caller nationalist assembly successful February, with 38 parties competing for the 57 seats.

Following the economical turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment stands astatine 16.5%, putting occupation instauration astatine the bosom of the statesmanlike campaign.

Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Editing by Peter Cooney

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