LGBTQ candidates run for office in Costa Rica

Margarita Salas (right) and Dayanna Hernández (left) run for Legislative Assembly seats in Costa Rica.

As Costa Rica’s general elections approach, several LGBTQ candidates are hitting the campaign trails.  The elections will take place on February 4, 2018 and voters will elect their President, two Vice Presidents and 57 members of the Legislative Assembly. In Costa Rican legislative elections, voters elect the party, not the candidate. The percentage of the vote each party receives in a province determines how many of the candidates on that party’s legislative roster get a seat.

The political party ‘VAMOS’, a new party which situates human rights at the center of its agenda, hosted its internal elections back in October, and have elected two LGBTQ people to run in the general elections.  Margarita Salas, openly lesbian President of the party, is running in the San José province as the first position on the roster for a seat in the Legislative Assembly.  Running second on the roster is Dayanna Hernández is, transwoman and president of the non-profit Transvida. This is the first time in the country’s history that an openly trans woman has run for Congress.  Both Margarita and Dayana have attended the Victory Institute’s Latin America and the Caribbean regional conferences in the past.

Other openly LGBTQ candidates this year include Vice Presidential candidate Luis Paulino Vargas Solís, with the Frente Amplio party, and Legislative Assembly candidate Enrique Sánchez Carballo, with the Partido Acción Ciudadana party.

Victory Institute has worked with and trained LGBTQ leaders from the country, as well as throughout Latin American and the Caribbean region.  Costa Rica already has two openly gay City Councilors and an openly lesbian Vice-Minister of Government and Police.  These elections could significantly boost LGBTQ voices within the decision-making government bodies, and Victory Institute and our partners in the region will be closely monitoring the results.