Politics of Costa Rica

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Costa Rica

The politics of Costa Rica take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the president and his cabinet, and the President of Costa Rica is both the head of state and head of government. Legislative power is vested in the Legislative Assembly. The president and 57 Legislative Assembly deputies are elected for 4-year terms. The Judiciary operates independent of the executive and the legislature. Costa Rica is a republic with a strong system of constitutional checks and balances. Voting is compulsory in Costa Rica but it is not enforced.

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. Costa Rica has no military but maintains domestic Police and armed National Guard forces securing its interests.

The position of governor in the seven provinces was abolished in 1998 [1]. There are no provincial legislatures. In 2009, the state monopolies on insurance and telecommunications (in which one often needed to wait months to get a cellular phone line) were opened to private-sector competition. Certain other state agencies enjoy considerable operational independence and autonomy; they include the electrical power, the nationalized commercial banks (which are open to competition from private banks), and the social security agency.

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