Government in Costa Rica

Get more information about Costa Rica’s current government system and the functioning of its rooted democracy

Nowadays, Costa Rica is a Democratic Presidential Republic since its declaration in the 1949 Constitution and José Figueres Ferrer “Don Pepe” accession to power. Costa Rica is a peaceful, free, democratic and independent nation with the following branches of government:

- The President holds the national executive power and it is chosen every four years by direct election. Then, the President appoints two Vice-Chairman and twenty two Ministers. The President can not be chosen for more than two consecutive terms of office.  

- The Legislative Assembly holds legislative powers, it is chosen every four years by direct election and it is formed by 57 members.  

- The Supreme Court of Justice holds the judicial power.

- There is also an Elections Court, its main objective is to enforce constitutional guarantees in elections and votes.

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Costa Rica was a pioneering country with the abolition of death penalty, it was the third country in doing so in 1882. The Army was abolished in 1948, and Costa Rica turned into the first nation without military forces.

Furthermore, since 1950 Costa Rica has an extraordinary political stability, with a democracy system that is one of the oldest in the world. Education is free and compulsory, being one of the largest expenditures along with health care. Literacy rate has risen to a 96%, while life expectancy is up to 80 years old.

Costa Rica is the Latin American country with less differences among social classes, there are not ghettos in the outskirts of the cities and even farmers have free access to health care and education. Moreover, the country’s economic development is huge because it is not only a popular touristic destination but, also, an interesting place for international enterprises, investments, etc.  

In relation to human rights, Costa Rica is an example on its geographical area, because the main interests of this country are civil, political, economic and social rights. There is worth mentioning Óscar Arias Sánchez, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, he was awarded this prize in appreciation of the continuous work and effort of different Costa Rican presidents since the 19th century, who stood up for education to create a stable government. It was also recognised Costa Rica’s mediation role in its neighbouring countries’ multiple armed conflicts.   

Nowadays, Costa Rica is a Founder Member of the United Nations and it has good diplomatic relationships with most of the American and European countries.

Find out more information you need to know before your trip to Costa Rica:

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