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: Carlos Alvarado Quesada, PAC, president (since 2018).
Legislative parties: Partido Liberación Nacional; Partido Restauración Nacional; Partido Acción Ciudadana; Partido Unidad Social Cristiana; Partido Integración Nacional; Partido Republicano Social Cristiano; Frente Amplio.
Assessment: Traditionally América Latina’s most liberal state. The presidential election in 2006 resulted in a virtual tie between former president Óscar Arias (1986-90, 2006-10) 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 (2010-4) 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 (2014-8, no relation to Ottón) of the PAC was elected president. Alvarado was elected in 2018, finishing narrowly behind Fabricio Alvarado of the PRN in the first round, but winning over 60% in the runoff. At the same time, the PRN surged to become the second-largest party in the legislature.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 8.04 (27), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2021 June 17.