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Costa Rica Government Profile 2013

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Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
conventional short form: Costa Rica
local long form: Republica de Costa Rica
local short form: Costa Rica
Government typedemocratic republic
Capitalname: San Jose
geographic coordinates: 9 56 N, 84 05 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose
Independence15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holidayIndependence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution7 November 1949
Legal systemcivil law system based on Spanish civil code; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state: President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010); First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010); Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010); First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010); Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president
elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held on 7 February 2010 (next to be held in February 2014)
election results: Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda elected president; percent of vote - Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (PLN) 46.7%; Otton SOLIS (PAC) 25.1%, Otto GUEVARA Guth (ML) 20.8%, other 7.4%
Legislative branchunicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 7 February 2010 (next to be held in February 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLN 24, PAC 11, ML 9, PUSC 6, PASE 4, other 3
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 22 judges organized into 3 cassation chambers each with 5 judges, and the Constitutional Chamber with 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Justice judges elected by the National Assembly for 8-year terms with renewal decided by the National Assembly
subordinate courts: appellate courts; first instance and justice of the peace courts; Superior Electoral Tribunal
Political parties and leadersAccessibility Without Exclusion or PASE [Oscar Andres LOPEZ Arias]
Citizen Action Party or PAC [Elizabeth FONSECA]
Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC [Gerardo Justo OROZCO Alvarez]
Broad Front (Frente Amplio) or PFA [Jose MERINO del Rio]
Libertarian Movement Party or ML [Otto GUEVARA Guth]
National Integration Party or PIN [Walter MUNOZ Cespedes]
National Liberation Party or PLN [Bernal JIMENEZ]
National Restoration Party or PRN
Patriotic Alliance [Mariano FIGUERES Olsen]
Popular Vanguard [Trino BARRANTES Araya]
Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC [Gerardo VARGAS]
Political pressure groups and leadersAuthentic Confederation of Democratic Workers or CATD (Communist Party affiliate)
Chamber of Coffee Growers
Confederated Union of Workers or CUT (Communist Party affiliate)
Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers or CCTD (Liberation Party affiliate)
Costa Rican Exporter's Chamber or CADEXCO
Costa Rican Solidarity Movement
Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Enterprises or UCCAEP
Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP
National Association for Economic Development or ANFE
National Association of Educators or ANDE
National Association of Public and Private Employees or ANEP
Rerum Novarum or CTRN (PLN affiliate)
International organization participationBCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Shanon Muni FIGUERES Boggs (since 7 September 2010)
chancery: 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 480-2200
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4795
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
consulate(s): Austin
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Gonzalo GALLEGOS
embassy: Calle 120 Avenida O, Pavas, San Jose
mailing address: APO AA 34020
telephone: [506] 2519-2000
FAX: [506] 2519-2305
Flag descriptionfive horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white elliptical disk toward the hoist side of the red band; Costa Rica retained the earlier blue-white-blue flag of Central America until 1848 when, in response to revolutionary activity in Europe, it was decided to incorporate the French colors into the national flag and a central red stripe was added; today the blue color is said to stand for the sky, opportunity, and perseverance, white denotes peace, happiness, and wisdom, while red represents the blood shed for freedom, as well as the generosity and vibrancy of the people
note: somewhat resembles the flag of North Korea; similar to the flag of Thailand but with the blue and red colors reversed
National anthemname: "Himno Nacional de Costa Rica" (National Anthem of Costa Rica)
lyrics/music: Jose Maria ZELEDON Brenes/Manuel Maria GUTIERREZ
note: adopted 1949; the anthem's music was originally written for an 1853 welcome ceremony for diplomatic missions from the United States and United Kingdom; the lyrics were added in 1903
GroupAll, APLAA, South America/Meso America, Central America

Source: CIA World Factbook
Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of February 21, 2013