Evangelical holds double-digit lead ahead of Costa Rica election runoff

Fabricio Alvarado, presidential candidate of the National Restoration party (PRN), gestures during a rally after Costa Rica's presidential election in San Jose, Costa Rica February 4, 2018. Picture taken February 4, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Evangelical Christian Fabricio Alvarado Munoz has a lead of more than 14 points over his center-left rival ahead of Costa Rica’s second-round presidential election, according to a poll published on Friday.

Ahead of the April 1 vote, the controversial religious singer and former journalist Alvarado Munoz is backed by 57.35 percent of the vote, while former center-left minister Carlos Alvarado Quesada has backing of 42.65 percent, according to a poll by OPol Consultores.

The poll of 2,000 people was taken between Feb. 8 and 9.

Alvarado Munoz’s rise on a ticket fiercely opposing gay marriage was helped by the decline of a centrist two-party system that stretched back decades in a country long considered one of the most stable in Latin America.

He was elected to the national assembly in 2014 as the only federal deputy representing the Christian-backed National Restoration Party (PRN). Since Sunday’s election, the party now has 14 seats.

Reporting by Enrique Andres Pretel; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler