Costa Rica is a democratic republic. Under the 1949 constitution, all citizens are guaranteed equality before the law, the right to own property, the right of petititon and assembly, freedom of speech and the right of habeas corpus. The constitution also divides the government into independent executive, legislative and judicial branches. The executive branch is composed of the president, two vice presidents and a cabinet. The legislature is the National Assembly, composed of 57 members (diputados) elected by proportional representation. National elections are held every four years, on the first Sunday of February. Under a constitutional amendment enacted in 1969, a president may serve only one four-year term during his lifetime. Diputados also are elected for four years and may serve a second term four years after the first ends. The largest political party is the National Liberation Party (PLN). Its main rival is the more conservative Social Christian Unity Party.
Information supplied by the Green Arrow Guide