Elections in Costa Rica

Last updated
Coat of arms of Costa Rica.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Costa Rica
Flag of Costa Rica.svg Costa Ricaportal

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.




TypePresidential (February)
National Congress (February)
Gubernatorial (February)
NonePresidential (February)
National Congress (February)
Gubernatorial (February)
President and
vice president
President and vice presidentNonePresident and vice president
National CongressAll seatsNoneAll seats
Provinces, cities and municipalitiesAll positionsNoneAll positions


TypePresidential (May)
National Congress (May)
Gubernatorial (May)
NonePresidential (May)
National Congress (May)
Gubernatorial (May)
President and
vice president
8 MayNone8 May
National Congress8 MayNone8 May
Provinces, cities and municipalities8 MayNone8 May

2018 elections

2014 elections

2010 elections

e    d  Summary of the 7 February 2010 Costa Rican presidential election results
Candidates – PartiesVotes%
Laura ChinchillaNational Liberation Party 863,80346.78
Ottón SolísCitizens' Action Party 464,45425.15
Otto GuevaraLibertarian Movement Party 384,54020.83
Luis FishmanSocial Christian Unity Party 71,3303.86
Óscar LópezAccess without Exclusion 35,2151.91
Mayra GonzálezCosta Rican Renewal Party 13,3760.72
Eugenio TrejosBroad Front 6,8220.37
Rolando ArayaPatriotic Alliance Party *3,7950.21
Walter MuñozNational Integration Party *3,1980.17
Total (turnout 69.14%)1,846,533100.00
* Candidacy withdrawn in favour of Ottón Solís on 15 January 2010.
Source: TSE

See also

Related Research Articles

Politics of Costa Rica Political system of Costa Rica

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.

Foreign relations of Costa Rica

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.

President of Costa Rica head of state and head of government of Costa Rica

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 President of Costa Rica

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.

Citizens Action Party (Costa Rica)

The Citizens' Action Party is a center-left political party in Costa Rica.

Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica legislative branch of the government of Costa Rica

The Legislative Assembly forms the unicameral legislative branch of the Costa Rican government. The national congress building is located in the capital city, San José, specifically in El Carmen District in San José Canton.

Vice President of Costa Rica

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 Costa Rican politician

Rolando Araya Monge is a Costa Rican socialist politician. He is a nephew of former president Luis Alberto Monge.

Laura Chinchilla 49th President of Costa Rica

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 Costa Rican politician

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.

Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica

The Supreme Court of Costa Rica is the court of greater hierarchy of Law and Justice in Costa Rica.

Administrative divisions of 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 7th Costa Rican Head of State

Manuel Aguilar Chacón was head of state of Costa Rica from April 1837 to March 1838.

The Supercopa de Costa Rica is an association football competition held for club football teams in Costa Rica. The Supercopa de Costa Rica is a renewed Champion of Champions tournament in Costa Rica and affirm with the secretary of the Unafut, Jorge Romero, after the Assembly of Presidents and representatives of Costa Rican Primera División.

Constitution of Costa Rica

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 in its Article 12 abolished the Costa Rican military, making it the second nation after Japan to do so by law. Another unusual clause is an amendment asserting the right to live in a healthy natural environment.

Local government in Costa Rica

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.

History of the Costa Rican legislature

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.