The former President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Oscar Arias is on course to win the presidential election in Costa Rica. Exit polls have given Arias more than the 40 percent of the vote needed to avoid a run-off. The former planning minister, Otton Solis, is in second place with just under 35 percent of the vote, according to the polls. Once dubbed the Switzerland of Central America, Costa Rica is traditionally seen as one of the region’s most politically stable countries.However voter turnout has been low, with commentators blaming a string of corruption scandals for the disillusionment. Arias is seen as a market-friendly politician who, if elected, will push for the ratification of a free trade pact with the US and other Central American countries.