Costa Ricans head to the polls Sunday with a crowded presidential field and no clear favourite for tackling growing economic concerns in one of the Latin America’s stablest democracies.

Often referred to as the region’s “happiest” country, Costa Rica is nonetheless grappling with a growing economic crisis, and the ruling Citizen’s Action Party is set for a bruising defeat.

The economy has tanked under President Carlos Alvarado Quesada. And the PAC candidate, former economy minister Welmer Ramos, seems to be paying the price for sky-high anti-government feeling, polling at just 0.3 per cent.

“The ruling party is completely weakened and has no chance” after two successive terms in office, said political analyst Eugenia Aguirre.

“The presidential unpopularity figure of 72 per cent is the highest since the number was first recorded in 2013,” she added.

It means the country’s traditional political heavyweights — the centrist National Liberation Party and the right-wing Social Christian Unity Party — could return to the fore after decades of a near political duopoly only recently broken by the PAC.

According to one poll published this month, former president Jose Maria Figueres (1994-98) of the PLN leads the race with just over 17 per cent of stated support, followed by the PUSC’s Lineth Saborio on just under 13 per cent.

25 candidates are participating in the election.

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