The Costa Rican Government
The Republic of Costa Rica is a multi-party democratic republic with one of the most stable governments in the world, earning it the nickname "the Switzerland of Central America."
There are 3 branches of government- judicial, executive and legislative.
The executive branch includes 2 vice presidents and the cabinet ministers who are appointed by the President. Presidential terms are 4 years and while the President may serve more than one term, they may not be consecutive. The President must have been out of office for at least 2 terms before running again.The current president is Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica's first female president.
The judicial branch of government consists of 3 levels of courts- district, appellate & supreme. The Supreme Court has 4 chambers- commercial & civil, administrative & labor, criminal and constitutional. The judiciary is independent of the legislature and the executive.
The legislative branch consists of 57 elected members of the National Assembly. Each member is elected for one 4 year term. Following the completion of their term, they may run for office again once they have been out of office for a full term.
The legal system in Costa Rica is based on the French Civil (Napoleonic) Code.
There are 7 provinces in Costa Rica- Puntarenas (where we are), San Jose, Alajuela, Guanacaste, Cartago, Heredia & Limon. There is no provincial legislature but each province has an elected mayor. Provinces are further broken down into municipalities.
As of the beginning of 2009, CAFTA-DR entered into force in Costa Rica, opening up trade with the U.S., the rest of Central America & the Dominican Republic.
Costa Rica is an active member of both the United Nations & the Organization of American States. Both the United Nations University of Peace and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights are based in Costa Rica.