|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
Costa Rica elects on national level a head of state, the president, and a legislature. The President of Costa Rica is, together with two vice-presidents, elected for a four-year term by the people. The Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa) has 57 members, elected for four-year terms by closed list proportional representation in each of the country's seven provinces.
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.
A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation.
The president is a common title for the head of state in most republics. In politics, president is a title given to leaders of republican states.
National Congress (February)
National Congress (February)
|President and vice president||None||President and vice president|
|National Congress||All seats||None||All seats|
|Provinces, cities and municipalities||All positions||None||All positions|
National Congress (May)
National Congress (May)
|8 May||None||8 May|
|National Congress||8 May||None||8 May|
|Provinces, cities and municipalities||8 May||None||8 May|
|Candidates – Parties||Votes||%|
|Laura Chinchilla – National Liberation Party||863,803||46.78|
|Ottón Solís – Citizens' Action Party||464,454||25.15|
|Otto Guevara – Libertarian Movement Party||384,540||20.83|
|Luis Fishman – Social Christian Unity Party||71,330||3.86|
|Óscar López – Access without Exclusion||35,215||1.91|
|Mayra González – Costa Rican Renewal Party||13,376||0.72|
|Eugenio Trejos – Broad Front||6,822||0.37|
|Rolando Araya – Patriotic Alliance Party *||3,795||0.21|
|Walter Muñoz – National Integration Party *||3,198||0.17|
|Total (turnout 69.14%)||1,846,533||100.00|
|* Candidacy withdrawn in favour of Ottón Solís on 15 January 2010.|
The politics of Costa Rica take place in a framework of a presidential, representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the president and his cabinet, and the President of Costa Rica is both the head of state and head of government. Legislative power is vested in the Legislative Assembly. The president and 57 Legislative Assembly deputies are elected for four-year terms. The judiciary operates independent of the executive and the legislature but remains involved in the political process. Costa Rica is a republic with a strong system of constitutional checks and balances. Voting is compulsory in Costa Rica but it is not enforced.
Costa Rica is an active member of the international community and, in 1983, claimed it was for neutrality. Due to certain powerful constituencies favoring its methods, it has a weight in world affairs far beyond its size. The country lobbied aggressively for the establishment of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and became the first nation to recognize the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Human Rights Court, based in San José.
The President of Costa Rica is the head of state and head of government of Costa Rica. The President is currently elected in direct elections for a period of four years, which is not immediately renewable. Two Vice presidents are elected in the same ticket with the president. The president appoints the Council of Ministers. Due to the abolition of the military of Costa Rica in 1948, the president is not a Commander-in-chief, unlike the norm in most other countries, although the Constitution does describe him as commander in chief of the civil defense public forces.
Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier served as President of Costa Rica from 1990 to 1994. He was the presidential candidate of the Social Christian Unity Party for the national elections held in February 2010, but resigned his candidacy on 5 October 2009, when he was sentenced to five years in prison for two counts of corruption.
José Joaquín Antonio Trejos Fernández was 35th President of Costa Rica from 1966 to 1970. His parents were Juan Trejos Quirós and Emilia Fernández Aguilar. As a student he obtained degrees in mathematics and economics from the University of Costa Rica. During Mario Echandi's administration he was part of Costa Rica's delegation in the United Nations. Trejos defeated Daniel Oduber in the election that secured him the presidency. Trejos died on 10 February 2010.
The Citizens' Action Party is a center-left political party in Costa Rica.
The Legislative Assembly is the unicameral legislative branch of the government of Costa Rica. The national congress building is located in the city capital, San José, specifically in El Carmen District in San José Canton.
The Costa Rican Civil War was the bloodiest event in 20th-century Costa Rican history. It lasted for 44 days, during which approximately 2,000 people are believed to have died. The conflict was precipitated by the vote of the Costa Rican Legislature, dominated by pro-government representatives, to annul the results of the presidential elections held in February, alleging that the triumph of opposition candidate Otilio Ulate had been achieved by fraud.
The 1949 Constitution of Costa Rica established two Vice-Presidencies of Costa Rica, which are directly elected through a popular vote on a ticket with the president for a period of four years, with no immediate re-election. There has been various incarnations of the office. Vice presidents replace the president in cases of temporary or permanent absence.
Rolando Araya Monge is a Costa Rican socialist politician. He is a nephew of former president Luis Alberto Monge.
Laura Chinchilla Miranda is a Costa Rican politician who was President of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014. She was one of Óscar Arias Sánchez's two Vice-Presidents and his administration's Minister of Justice. She was the governing PLN candidate for President in the 2010 general election, where she won with 46.76% of the vote on 7 February. She was the eighth woman president of a Latin American country and the first woman to become President of Costa Rica. She was sworn in as President of Costa Rica on May 8, 2010.
Alberto Salom Echeverría is a Costa Rican politician. He was a deputy with the Citizens' Action Party from 2006 to 2010 and was the former councillor of San José. He is currently Rector of the National University of Costa Rica.
Epsy Campbell Barr is a Costa Rican politician and economist who has been the First Vice-President of Costa Rica since 8 May 2018. She is Costa Rica’s first woman of African descent to become vice president, and the second female vice president of African descent in the Americas following Viola Burnham.
The Supreme Court of Costa Rica is the court of greater hierarchy of Law and Justice in Costa Rica.
According to the Political Constitution of Costa Rica of 1949, in article 168, the territorial division of Costa Rica is organized by law into three types of subnational entity:
Manuel Aguilar Chacón was head of state of Costa Rica from April 1837 to March 1838.
The Constitution of Costa Rica is the supreme law of Costa Rica. At the end of the 1948 Costa Rican Civil War, José Figueres Ferrer oversaw the Costa Rican Constitutional Assembly, which drafted the document. It was approved on 1949 November 7. Several older constitutions had been in effect starting from 1812, with the most recent former constitution ratified in 1871. The Costa Rican Constitution is remarkable in that it abolished the Costa Rican military, making it the first nation to do so by law. Another unusual clause include an amendment asserting the right to live in a healthy natural environment.
Costa Rica’s municipal system is organized under the Municipal Code, the specific law that regulates the local governments. Municipalities are the second-level administration in Costa Rica after the central government. Each one of the 82 cantons of Costa Rica has a Municipality or Municipal Government constituted by a Mayor and a proportional number of members of the Municipal Council. Districts of each of the cantons also have their local authorities and representatives. Some of the services manage by local governments include; solid waste management, building and administration of local roads, parks, libraries and schools, recollection of municipal taxes and in some cases local security. Worth noticing that in Costa Rica city and municipality are not the same thing, as a canton can have several cities within its borders, generally as districts.
The Costa Rican general election of 1853 was held on April 4, 1853. President Juan Rafael Mora Porras was re-elected as the sole candidate, who had been elected in 1849 to end the period of José María Castro Madriz.
The history of the Costa Rican legislature is long and starts from even before its formal independence from the Spanish Empire. Costa Rica is one of the world's oldest democracies, thus, its parliamentary history dates back several centuries.