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Costa Rica

Date: 5 February 2006
What was elected: President
Term: 4 years
New president: Oscar Arias
Outgoing president: Abel Pacheco

Situation: Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias was sworn in as Costa Rica's president for the second time in May, after winning a close-fought election.

He vowed to stabilise the economy and government with a commitment to democracy and human rights.

The result was made clear nearly a month after the election, when a manual recount confirmed Mr Arias as the frontrunner and Otton Solis lost a series of legal challenges.

Opinion polls had predicted Mr Arias would win easily, but correspondents say his proposal to ratify a regional free trade agreement with the US may have cost him votes.

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