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  Wikipedia: Politics of Costa Rica

Wikipedia: Politics of Costa Rica
Politics of Costa Rica
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Politics of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a democratic republic with a strong system of constitutional checks and balances. Executive responsibilities are vested in a president, who is the country's center of power. There also are two vice presidents and a 15-member cabinet that includes one of the vice presidents. The president and 57 Legislative Assembly deputies are elected for 4-year terms. A constitutional amendment approved in 1969 limits presidents and deputies to one term, although a deputy may run again for an Assembly seat after sitting out a term. An amendment to the constitution to allow second presidential terms has been proposed. The constitutionality of the prohibition against a second presidential term also has been challenged in the courts.

The electoral process is supervised by an independent Supreme Electoral Tribunal – a commission of three principal magistrates and six alternates selected by the Supreme Court of Justice. Judicial power is exercised by the Supreme Court of Justice, composed of 22 magistrates selected for renewable 8-year terms by the Legislative Assembly, and subsidiary courts. A Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, established in 1989, reviews the constitutionality of legislation and executive decrees and all habeas corpus warrants.

The offices of the Comptroller General of the Republic, the Procurator General of the Public, and the Ombudsman exercise autonomous oversight of the government. The Comptroller General's office has a statutory responsibility to scrutinize all but the smallest contracts of the public sector and strictly enforces procedural requirements.

Governors appointed by the president head the country's seven provinces, but they exercise little power. There are no provincial legislatures. Autonomous state agencies enjoy considerable operational independence; they include the telecommunications and electrical power monopoly, the nationalized commercial banks, the state insurance monopoly, and the social security agency. Costa Rica has no military and maintains only domestic police and security forces for internal security.

Principal Government Officials
President: Abel Pacheco de la Espriella (2002-2004)
Foreign Minister: Roberto Tovar Faja
Ambassador to the OAS: Walter Niehaus Bonilla
Ambassador to the UN: Bernd Niehaus (permanent office)

Political conditions

Costa Rica long has emphasized the development of democracy and respect for human rights. Until recently, the country's political system has contrasted sharply with many of its Central American and Caribbean neighbors; it has steadily developed and maintained democratic institutions and an orderly, constitutional scheme for government succession. Several factors have contributed to this tendency, including enlightened government leaders, comparative prosperity, flexible class lines, educational opportunities that have created a stable middle class, and high social indicators. Also, because Costa Rica has no armed forces, it has avoided the possibility of political intrusiveness by the military that some neighboring countries have experienced. Costa Rica experienced several unusual days of demonstrations and civil disturbance in early 2000 due to protests over legislation that would have permitted private sector participation in the telecommunications and electrical power sectors. These sectors currently are controlled by state-owned monopolies. The legislation was withdrawn, but the underlying question of the appropriate role of the state in the provision of public services remains sensitive.

Costa Rica's leading political parties are the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) and the National Liberation Party (PLN); others include the Partido Movimiento Libertario (PML) (Libertarian).

In the February 1998 national election, PUSC candidate Miguel Ángel Rodríguez won the presidency over PLN nominee Jose Miguel Corrales. President Rodriguez assumed office May 8, 1998. The PUSC also obtained 27 seats in the 57-member Legislative Assembly, for a plurality, while the PLN gained 23 and five minor parties won seven. Social Christian in philosophy, the PUSC generally favors free-market principles, conservative fiscal policies, and government reform. President Rodriguez pledged to reduce the country's large internal debt, privatize state-owned utilities, attract additional foreign investment, impose greater control over public-sector spending, and promote the creation of jobs with decent salaries. The reforms he tried to promote found opposition from several parties, including his own, and he asserted several times the country was "ungovernable".

Quick facts:


conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
conventional short form: Costa Rica
local long form: República de Costa Rica
local short form: Costa Rica

Data code: CS

Government type: democratic republic

Capital: San José

Administrative divisions: 7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, San José

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 7 November 1949

Legal system: based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President President Miguel Angel RODRIGUEZ (since 8 May 1998); First Vice President Astrid FISCHEL Volio (since 8 May 1998), Second Vice President Elizabeth ODIO Benito (since 8 May 1998); note - president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President President Miguel Angel RODRIGUEZ (since 8 May 1998); First Vice President Astrid FISCHEL Volio (since 8 May 1998), Second Vice President Elizabeth ODIO Benito (since 8 May 1998); note - president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president
elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 1 February 1998 (next to be held 2 February 2002)
election results: Abel PACHECO elected president; percent of vote - Abel PACHECO (PUSC) 46.6%, Rolando ARAYA (PLN) 44.6%

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 2 February 2002 (next to be held February 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - PUSC 41%, PLN 35%, minority parties 24%; seats by party - PUSC 27, PLN 23, minority parties 7

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), justices are elected for eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Agriculture Labor Action or PALA [Carlos Alberto SOLIS Blanco]; Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC [Carlos AVENDANO Calvo]; Democratic Force Party or PFD [Jose NUNEZ]; Libertarian Movement Party or PML [Otto GUEVARA]; National Christian Alliance Party or ANC [Alejandro MADRIGAL Benavides]; National Independent Party or PNI [Jorge GONZALEZ Marten]; National Integration Party or PIN [Walter MUNOZ Cespedes]; National Liberation Party or PLN [Sonia PICADO]; Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC [Luis Manuel CHACON]


note: mainly a two-party system - PUSC and PLN; numerous small parties share less than 25% of population's support

Political pressure groups and leaders: Authentic Confederation of Democratic Workers or CATD (Communist Party affiliate); Chamber of Coffee Growers; Confederated Union of Workers or CUT (Communist Party affiliate); Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers or CCTD (Liberation Party affiliate); Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP; Free Costa Rica Movement or MCRL (rightwing militants); National Association for Economic Development or ANFE; National Association of Educators or ANDE

International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICC, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Flag description: five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white disk on the hoist side of the red band

See also : Costa Rica

  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona