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This article lists political parties in Costa Rica . Costa Rica used to have a two-party system, which meant that there were two dominant political parties, the Social Christian Unity Party and the National Liberation Party, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party. After the 2002 elections and the strong showing of the brand-new Citizens' Action Party, it was considered very likely that the old two-party system was on the verge of giving way to a multi-party system. Several other parties have gained prominence since then, and the 2006 elections made it clear that Costa Rica is now a multi-party system.
A political party is an organized group of people, often with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.
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 two-party system is a party system where two major political parties dominate the government. One of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature and is usually referred to as the majority or governing party while the other is the minority or opposition party. Around the world, the term has different senses. For example, in the United States, Jamaica, and Malta, the sense of two-party system describes an arrangement in which all or nearly all elected officials belong to one of the only two major parties, and third parties rarely win any seats in the legislature. In such arrangements, two-party systems are thought to result from various factors like winner-takes-all election rules. In such systems, while chances for third-party candidates winning election to major national office are remote, it is possible for groups within the larger parties, or in opposition to one or both of them, to exert influence on the two major parties. In contrast, in the United Kingdom and Australia and in other parliamentary systems and elsewhere, the term two-party system is sometimes used to indicate an arrangement in which two major parties dominate elections but in which there are viable third parties which do win seats in the legislature, and in which the two major parties exert proportionately greater influence than their percentage of votes would suggest.
Starting in the 2000s, disagreement about many of the neo-liberal policies promoted by the dominant PLN caused the traditional party system of alliances among a few parties to fracture.Although still a stable country, the shift toward many political parties and away from PUSC and PLN is a recent development. Various elected positions within the country, such as mayors and city council members, are held by many different national and local political parties.
|Political Parties in Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, 2014-2018|
|Party Name (English)||Party Name (Spanish)||Legislative Seats (2014)||Ideology||Position||Historic Notes|
|National Liberation Party||Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN)||18||Social Democracy, Third Way, Social liberalism||Center with some Centre-left and Centre-right factions||Founded in 1951. Controlled the legislative assembly since inception and presidency for all but four elections.|
|Citizens' Action Party||Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC)||13||Progressivism, Social Democracy, Christian Democracy||Centre-left to left-wing, some Centre-right factions||Founded in 2002. Won presidential election of 2014.|
|Broad Front||Frente Amplio (FA)||9||Green, Progressivism, Humanism, 21st century socialism||Left-wing||Founded in 2004. Never controlled presidency.|
|Social Christian Unity Party||Partido Unidad Social Cristiana, (PUSC)||8||Conservatism, Christian democracy, Classical liberalism||Centre-right||Founded 1983 by four opposition parties. The main historical opposition to PLN. Three presidential victories in 1990, 1998, and 2002.|
|Libertarian Movement||Partido Movimiento Libertario (PML)||4||Classical liberalism, Liberal conservatism, Libertarianism (originally)||Right-wing||Founded 1994. Never controlled presidency.|
|Costa Rican Renewal Party||Partido Renovación Costarricense (PRC)||2||Christian politics, Social conservatism||Right-wing||Founded in 1995. Never controlled presidency.|
|National Restoration Party||Partido Restauración Nacional (PRN)||1||Christian politics, Social conservatism||Right-wing||Founded in 2005. Never controlled presidency.|
|Accessibility without Exclusion||Partido Accesibilidad sin Exclusión (PASE)||1||Single issue, rights for people with disabilities||N/A||Founded 2001. Never controlled presidency.|
|Christian Democratic Alliance||Alianza Demócrata Cristiana (ADC)||1||Conservativism, Christian Democracy, provincial (Cartago)||Right-wing||Founded in 2012.|
|Nationally Unrepresented Political Parties|
|Party Name (English)||Party Name (Spanish)||Ideology||Historic Notes|
|National Integration Party||Partido Integración Nacional (PIN)||Conservatism, center-right, Liberal Conservatism||Founded in 1998. Held one seat in 1998. Active as of 2014 election.|
|New Generation Party||Partido Nueva Generación (PNG)||Liberalism, Center, Youth rights||Founded in 2013, has three mayors and some councilmen/women|
|Patriotic Alliance||Alianza Patriótica (AP)||Social Democracy, center-left||Founded in 1982. Held one seat in 1982. Joined Coalition Change 2000. Active as of 2014.|
|Cartago Green Party||Partido Verde de Cartago||Green politics, center-left||Founded in 2004, represented in Paraiso City Council|
|Party Name (English)||Party Name (Spanish)||Canton||Historic Notes|
|Party of the Sun||Partido del Sol||Santa Ana||Founded in 1997. Originally single issue to oppose trash dump construction. Controlled Santa Ana City Council for four consecutive terms.|
|21st Century Curridabat||Curridabat Siglo 21||Curridabat||Founded in 1997, controlled Curridabat Mayoralty and City Council for four consecutive terms|
|Escazu's Progressive Yoke||Yunta Progresista Escazuseña||Escazu||Founded in 1996, controlled Escazu Mayoralty and City Council for three consecutive terms.|
|Defunct Political Parties|
|Party Name (English)||Party Name (Spanish)||Ideology||Historic Notes|
|National Union Party||Partido Unión Nacional (PUN)||Conservatism, Center-right||Founded in 1901. Has existed in various forms and coalition parties until 2010. Won the presidency four times (1902, 1928, 1948, 1958, 1966). 1948 election was unrecognized. Defunct as of 2010.|
|National Rescue Party||Partido Rescate Nacional (PRN)||Center-left, Moderate socialist||Founded in 1996. Held one legislative seat in 2006. Defunct as of 2010.|
|Union for Change Party||Partido Unión para el Cambio (UPC)||Centrist, social democracy||Founded in 2005. Existed for one election cycle as protest from ex-PLN members. Defunct as of 2010.|
|Homeland First Party||Partido Patria Primero (PP)||Conservative, Catholic interest||Founded in 2006. Existed for one election cycle as a protest from ex-PAC members. Defunct as of 2010.|
|Nationalist Democratic Alliance||Partido Alianza Democrática Nacionalista||Social democracy, nationalist||Founded in 2004. Opposed CAFTA. Defunct as of 2010.|
|Democratic Force||Fuerza Democrática||Left wing||Founded in 1994. Held three seats from 1998-2002. Defunct as of 2006.|
|Popular Vanguard Party||Partido Vanguardia Popular (PVP)||Communist, far-left||Founded in 1931. Existed as The Workers' and Farmers' Party and Communist Party of Costa Rica. Defunct as of 1984.|
|National Unification Party||Partido Unificación Nacional||Center-right, liberal-conservative||Founded in 1966 as joint of National Republican and National Union. Defunct as of 1978.|
|National Republican Party||Partido Republicano Nacional||Centrist, personal||Founded in 1901. Often called "Calderónistas." Joined Unity Coalition in 1978, which later became PUSC. Defunct as of 1978.|
|Agrarian Labour Action Party||Partido Acción Laborista Agrícola (PALA)||Agrarian, Provincial Alajuela||Founded in 1990. Held one seat in 1998. Defunct as of 2007.|
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 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.
The National Liberation Party, nicknamed the verdiblancos, is a political party in Costa Rica. The party is a member of the Socialist International.
The Citizens' Action Party is a center-left political party in Costa Rica.
The Social Christian Unity Party is a centre-right political party in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica held parliamentary and presidential elections on 7 February 2010. The ruling party before the election, the center-left National Liberation Party, put forward former Vice-President Laura Chinchilla as its presidential candidate, while the libertarian, Movimiento Libertario nominated former legislator Otto Guevara. Opinion polls before voting started consistently put Chinchilla as the front-runner, a trend confirmed in the election-night count, which showed her garnering 46.76% of the vote.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 2 February 1958. Mario Echandi Jiménez of the National Union Party won the presidential election, whilst the National Liberation Party won the parliamentary election. Voter turnout was 64.7%.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 4 February 1962. Francisco Orlich Bolmarcich of the National Liberation Party won the presidential election, whilst his party also won the parliamentary election. Voter turnout was 80.9%.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 6 February 1966. José Joaquín Trejos Fernández of the National Unification Party won the presidential election, whilst the National Liberation Party won the parliamentary election. Voter turnout was 81.4%.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 1 February 1970. José Figueres Ferrer of the National Liberation Party won the presidential election, whilst his party also won the parliamentary election. Voter turnout was 83.3%.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 5 February 1978. Rodrigo Carazo Odio of the Unity Coalition won the presidential election, whilst his party also won the parliamentary election. Voter turnout was 81%.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 2 February 1986. Óscar Arias of the National Liberation Party won the presidential election, whilst his party also won the parliamentary election. Voter turnout was 81.8%.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 1 February 1998. Miguel Ángel Rodríguez of the Social Christian Unity Party won the presidential election, whilst his party also won the parliamentary election. Voter turnout was 70%, the lowest since the 1950s.
General elections were held in Costa Rica on 3 February 2002. For the first time in the country's history, no candidate in the presidential election passed the 40% threshold. This meant a second round of voting had to be held on 7 April which saw Abel Pacheco of the Social Christian Unity Party defeat the National Liberation Party's Rolando Araya Monge.
Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera is a Costa Rican educator and politician who was the President of Costa Rica from 2014 to 2018. He is a member of the center-left Citizens' Action Party (PAC). Solís led the field in the 2014 presidential election, and won the presidency in a landslide election, earning more votes than any presidential candidate in the history of the nation. Solís has a long academic and political career, culminating in his election as the first President of Costa Rica to be a member of the PAC.
The National Republican Party was a political party in Costa Rica.
The Democratic Party was a liberal political party in Costa Rica.
The Unity Coalition was a Costa Rican political coalition of right-wing opposition parties made in the 70s and oppose to the then ruling centre-left National Liberation Party. Four parties made the coalition; Democratic Renewal, Christian Democrats, People’s Union and Republican Calderonista. After a primary election from which Rodrigo Carazo Odio was victorious the coalition presented him as candidate winning the 1978 elections. Eventually the Coalition merged forming the Social Christian Unity Party in 1983.
The Social Christian Republican Party is a Costa Rican political party founded in 2014 by former president Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier and his group of supporters as a splinter from the historical Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). The party also uses the colors and a similar name of Calderón's father's party, the National Republican Party.
Liberalism in Costa Rica is a political philosophy with a long and complex history. Liberals were the hegemonic political group for most of Costa Rica’s history specially during the periods of the Free State and the First Republic, however, as the liberal model exhausted itself and new more left-wing reformist movements clashed during the Costa Rican Civil War liberalism was relegated to a secondary role after the Second Costa Rican Republic with the development of Costa Rica’s Welfare State and its two-party system controlled by social-democratic and Christian democratic parties.