While Americans were busy “awww”ing over that Google ad on Sunday, Costa Ricans were handing a landslide victory to Georgetown graduate Laura Chinchilla, the center-right politician who has become the first woman elected President in the country’s history.
“Today we are making history,” said Chinchilla, who lead her closest rival by 22 points in the election. “The Costa Rican people have given me their confidence, and I will not betray it.”
Chinchilla received her master’s degree in public policy at Georgetown in the late ’80s after graduating from the University if Costa Rica. A social conservative who opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, she campaigned on continuing free market policies in Costa Rica. She is the former vice president and public security minister of Costa Rica, and when she takes office in May, she will be the fifth Latin American female president.
Of course, she’ll be one of several presidents to have graduated from Georgetown University. A few in particular come to mind. There’s everyone’s favorite former Harbin resident, of course—Bill Clinton (SFS ’68)—and then there’s Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the current president of the Philippines. Arroyo is incredibly unpopular and has been linked to the deaths of many Filipino activists and serious corruption scandals. (We like Chinchilla and Clinton a lot more.)
Before her victory, the Global Post‘s Alex Leff wrote that given Costa Rica’s very progressive laws about women in politics, it’s actually a wonder that Chinchilla was about to become only the first female president of that country.
“By law, women must make up 40 percent of a party’s seats in the Legislative Assembly, and by 2014, the law mandates a 50-50 split. That’s well above the world average,” he wrote. “Parties also are obligated to include at least one women on the ballot for their executive branch bids, whether for one of the two vice presidencies or the presidency.”