Government structure

Costa Rica is a democratic, free and independent republic.  Its government is popular, representative, alternative and responsible, exercised by three supreme powers which are distinct and independent of each other: Executive Power, Legislative Power and Judicial Power.

The Costa Rican State has also a Supreme Elections Tribunal with the same rank and independence as the other powers.  This tribunal is in charge exclusively of organizing, directing and supervising all acts concerning suffrage.

The Executive Power is composed by the President of the Republic, two Vice presidents and a Cabinet of Government chosen by the President.  The President of the Republic is, simultaneously, Head of Government and Head of State.

The President and Vice presidents are elected every four years by direct vote of all citizens over 18 years.  There have been uninterrupted elections since the promulgation of the current Constitution in 1949.

The current President is Mr. Carlos Andrés Alvarado Quesada and the Vice presidents are Ms. Epsy Campbell Barr and Mr. Marvin Rodríguez Cordero.  Mr. Alvarado Quesada and the Vice presidents took office on May 8th 2018 for the following four years.

The Legislative Power is unicameral and it’s integrated by 57 deputies elected democratically and simultaneously with the President of the Republic and the Vice presidents for a four-year period as well.  The 57 deputies form the Legislative Assembly.

The current Constitution establishes that Costa Rican people delegate in the Legislative Assembly the power to legislate, which is its main function.

The current President of the Legislative Assembly is Ms. Carolina Hidalgo Herrera, who took office on May 1st 2018 for a single-year period as established by law.

The political parties currently represented in the Legislative Assembly are:

  • Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN):

   National Liberation Party

17 deputies
  • Partido Restauración Nacional (PRN):

   National Restoration Party

14 deputies
  • Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC):

   Citizens Action Party

10 deputies
  • Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC):

   Social Christian Unity Party

9 deputies
  • Partido Integración Nacional (PIN):

   National Integration Party

4 deputies
  • Partido Republicano Socialcristiano (PRSC):

   Social-christian Republican Party

2 deputies
  • Frente Amplio (FA):

   Broad Front

1 deputy

The Judicial Power is composed by the Supreme Justice Court, the most important judiciary body in the country, as well as the different tribunals responsible for deliver justice.

The Supreme Justice Court is composed by 22 magistrates, designated by the Legislative Assembly for eight-year periods.  The current President of the Court is Mr. Fernando Cruz Castro, who took office on August 2018.

Administratively, Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces which are subdivided into 83 cantons and these, in turn, into 463 districts.  The cantons are ruled, with limited capabilities, by a Mayor and a Municipal Council; both the Mayor and the Council are popularly elected.