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Oscar Arias wins Costa Rican election - rival

Written by: Staff
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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, March 4 (Reuters) The opponent of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias conceded defeat in Costa Rica's Presidential election after weeks of bickering following an extremely close vote count.

Otton Solis of the Citizen Action Party said Arias, president of Costa Rica in the late 1980s, won the February. 5 election.

Solis had challenged results giving Arias a narrow victory but gave up the fight after electoral authorities rejected hundreds of complaints of irregularities.

''The country needs clarity. Oscar Arias will be president as of May 8,'' Solis told reporters.

Arias is a moderate who supports free trade with the United States. Many in Costa Rica believe the close election victory could make it harder for him to win approval for the controversial Central America Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, with the United States.

REUTERS CS RN0850

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