April 7, 2014 / 2:33 AM / in 4 years

Costa Rica leftist takes huge lead in presidential run-off

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Center-left academic Luis Guillermo Solis took an overwhelming lead in Costa Rica’s presidential election run-off on Sunday, official results showed, storming ahead as widely expected after his opponent slid in polls and stopped campaigning.

Supporters wave party flags of Luis Guillermo Solis, presidential candidate of the Citizens' Action Party (PAC), while travelling in a vehicle during the presidential election run-off in San Jose April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Solis, a former diplomat who ran on a popular anti-corruption message but who has never been elected to office, had 77.69 percent of the vote with 77.61 percent of polling booths counted, Costa Rica’s election tribunal said.

He rode a wave of anti-government sentiment over rising inequality and graft scandals to finish ahead in February’s first-round vote, surprising pollsters who had placed him fourth.

Facing a depleted war chest, rival Johnny Araya of the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) quit campaigning after an opinion poll showed him trailing badly.

Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Simon Gardner and Gabriel Stargardter

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