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Laura Chinchilla

Taking office
8 May 2010
Vice President Alfio Piva
Succeeding Óscar Arias

Born 28 March 1959 (1959-03-28) (age 50)
Political party National Liberation Party
Spouse(s) José María Rico
Alma mater University of Costa Rica
Religion Roman Catholicism

Laura Chinchilla Miranda (born March 28, 1959) is a Costa Rican politician and first female President-elect of Costa Rica. She was one of Óscar Arias's two Vice-Presidents and his administration's Minister of Justice.[1] She was the governing PLN candidate for President in the 2010 general election, where she won with 46.76% of the vote.[2]



Chinchilla graduated from the University of Costa Rica and received her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.[3][4] Prior to entering politics, Chinchilla worked as an NGO consultant in Latin America and Africa, specializing in judicial reform and public security issues. She went on to serve in the José María Figueres Olsen administration as vice-minister for public security (1994–1996) and minister of public security (1996–1998). From 2002 to 2006, she served in the National Assembly as a deputy for the province of San José.

Chinchilla was one of two vice-presidents elected under the second Arias administration (2006–2010). She resigned the vice-presidency in 2008 in order to prepare her run for the presidency in 2010. On 7 June 2009 she won the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) primary with a 15% margin over her nearest rival, and was thus endorsed as the party's presidential candidate.

Political life

Chinchilla's Partido Liberación Nacional is a member of the Socialist International,[5] whose motto is the promotion of "progressive politics for a better world."

The British Foreign and Commonwealth minister with responsibility for Central America, Baroness Kinnock, applauded Chinchilla's election as the first female President of Costa Rica. Kinnock also praised Chinchilla for stating her continued support for the forward thinking approach by the previous Government in working to combat climate change and said that the UK would continue to work with Costa Rica on this important issue in 2010.[6]

Political views

Laura Chinchilla's political platform emphasized anti-crime legislation in response to Costa Rica's growing concerns over safety. She is also expected to give continuity to the current government's pro-free trade policies. On the social arena, she is considered a conservative, supporting traditional heterosexual marriage and maintaining the country's prohibition of abortion under most circumstances.[7]

March for Life and Family

Laura Chinchilla

On November 28, 2009, Chinchilla became Costa Rica's only mainstream party candidate to participate and voice support for a march dubbed "March for Life and Family". Organized by a coalition of church leaders, its stated mission conflated opposition to the legalization of abortion and granting recognition for civil unions to same-sex couples.[8] Laura Chinchilla Miranda's participation raised concerns among several Costa Rican civil and human rights leaders[9] who have regarded the event as pandering to fundamentalism and homophobia. Chinchilla stated that the march was not "against any group".[10]

Views on secularism

She opposes any amendment of the constitution aimed at separation of church and state in Costa Rica. The constitution currently defines the Republic of Costa Rica as a Roman Catholic nation.[11] Her position contrasts that of current President Oscar Arias, who supports establishing a secular state.[12]

Views on contraception

Laura Chinchilla is against legalizing the morning after pill, which is banned in Costa Rica.[13] Many pro-life supporters in Latin American countries oppose the morning after pill because they believe it to be an abortifacient. This position contradicts the World Health Organization's (WHO) statement that emergency contraception cannot be an abortifacient, because it will not work in cases when the woman is already pregnant.[14] However, this WHO statement is based on the unsettled definition of the when pregnancy begins.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "Chiefs of State and Cabinet members of Foreign Governments". The Central Intelligence Agency of America. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ "2010 Presidential election results, (in Spanish)". February 8, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Costa Rica elects first female president, Georgetown grad Laura Chinchilla". Vox Populi, Georgetown's blog of record. February 8, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Costa Rica elects first woman president, inspiring the region". The Christian Science Monitor. February 8, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Socialist International Members". Socialist International. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Costa Rican Presidential elections". UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. February 10, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Costa Rica: Female Leader Elected". The New York Times. February 8, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Thousands March Against Gay Civil Unions in Costa Rica". Costa Rica Pages. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Una marcha vergonzosa, (in Spanish)". La Prensa Libre. November 24, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Laura Chinchilla creara ministerio de la familia, (in Spanish)". November 28, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ "No desde Costa Rica al aborto, Estado laico y matrimonios homosexuales, (in Spanish)". February 3, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Presidente Oscar Arias apoya reforma para declarar estado laico a Costa Rica, (in Spanish)". el Economista. September 10, 2009. Retrieved February , 2010. 
  13. ^ "Una mujer de ordeno y mando, (in Spanish)". El Pais. October 2, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Emergency contraception in the Americas". Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Definition: Pregnancy". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Óscar Arias
President of Costa Rica


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