Costa Rican president-elect, opposition leader pledge unity after vote

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SAN JOSE, April 5 (Reuters) - Costa Rica's president-elect Rodrigo Chaves and his defeated rival, former President Jose Maria Figueres, pledged unity after meeting on Tuesday, following an often tempestuous campaign ahead of last Sunday's election.

Anti-establishment economist Chaves, a former World Bank official, won the run-off election against Figueres, who had campaigned as an experienced political insider.

The two appeared to smooth over some of the tensions that erupted in the election race during an hour-long meeting at Chaves' home in Curridabat, east of the capital San Jose. Chaves said they aimed to work together to reactivate the economy and promote the inclusion of Costa Rica's most vulnerable citizens.

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"Let's save the hatred, there's no time for vanities," Chaves told journalists after the meeting, which also included Figueres' two vice-presidential candidates.

After finishing runner-up in a first round vote on Feb. 6, Chaves won the deciding election with 52.84% of votes, ahead of Figueres on 47.16%. Still, 43% of eligible voters in the Central American country stayed at home, the highest rate in 50 years.

"We come on behalf of the 900,000 people who voted for us on Sunday. We have come to congratulate him and tell him that as Costa Ricans, he has us at the ready," Figueres said as he left Chaves' home. Figueres went on to meet 19 deputies from his National Liberation Party, which will be the largest bloc in parliament for the next four years.

Chaves said he agreed with the former president "on the most important projects for the country" without giving more details.

"But the dynamics must include other parties, because there are six in Congress," said Chaves.

Chaves' Social Democratic Progress Party (PPSD) will hold just 10 of the parliament's 57 seats.

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Reporting by Alvaro Murillo, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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