Costa Rica. According to
Countryaah.com, the campaign for the February 4, 2018
presidential election was dominated by a corruption scandal
revealed in early September, where officials at the state
bank Banco de Costa Rica are suspected of receiving bribes
from a subsidiary of a Chinese cement company. One of the
presidential candidates, Otto Guevara of the small
opposition party Libertarian movement, was considered to be
involved. Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría was also questioned
after refraining from investigating the case further.
Otherwise, President Luis Guillermo Solí's promised fight
against corruption during his three years in power has been
quite successful. A January report from Transparency
International, which ranks the world's countries by a
corruption index, showed that Costa Rica received its
highest ranking ever, above both the rest of Central America
and the average for Latin America.
Despite good financial results, the government launched a
tax package in early August that was intended to strengthen
government finances through an income tax reform and an
increase in VAT. Growth was 4.1% in the first half and
poverty decreased, but the budget deficit of 6.1% of GDP was
seen as a serious risk of liquidity problems for the state.
Another proposal, to abolish a capital import control law
introduced by former President Laura Chinchilla (2010-14) to
curb speculation capital's influence on the economy, was met
with strong opposition, especially from the largest
opposition party National Liberation Party (PLN). Overall,
the voters considered President Solís a good job, but
opinion polls at the end of the year nevertheless showed a
leadership position for Antonio Álvarez Desanti of PLN.