Officially: República de Costa Rica.
Seat of government: San José.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly by two-fifths plurality. The legislature (Asamblea Legislativa) is elected in the provinces, with multiple members determined by proportional representation.
Head of government: Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, PAC, president.
Legislative parties: Partido Liberación Nacional; Partido Acción Ciudadana; Frente Amplio; Partido Unidad Social Cristiana; Partido Movimiento Libertario; Partido Renovación Costarricense; Partido Restauración Nacional; Partido Accesibilidad sin Exclusión; Alianza Demócrata Cristiana.
Assessment: Traditionally América Latina’s most liberal state. The presidential election in 2006 resulted in a virtual tie between former president Óscar Arias of the PLN and Ottón Solís of the PAC. A manual recount gave Arias a slight first-round victory, which required only that the winner surpass 40%, which both Arias and Solís barely did. Their parties were the largest and second-largest in the legislature. Laura Chinchilla of the PLN was elected to succeed Arias in 2010, with Ottón Solís again the nearest challenger, but far behind. In 2014, the PLN won a plurality in the legislative assembly, but Luis Solís (no relation to Ottón) of the PAC was elected president. While the PLN and PAC seem to be the main political competitors, the FA and PUSC also have large delegations in the assembly.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 8.04 (27), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2014 October 23.