Gender Quotas Database

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Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica)

Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica) has a Unicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 26 of 57 (46%) seats in the Asamblea Legislativa / Legislative Assembly are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Unicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? Yes

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 11, 2018

Single/Lower House

Asamblea Legislativa / Legislative Assembly

Total seats 57
Total Women 26
% Women 46%
Election Year 2018
Electoral System List PR
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law According to Articles 2 and 148 (1) of the 2009 Electoral Law, all nominations for elections must comply with the rules of parity and alternation. In other words, 50% of the candidates must be of each gender and two persons of the same sex cannot be subsequently included on the list of candidates.
Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law According to Article 148 (4) of the electoral law, the electoral authorities reject lists that do not comply with the quota rules.
Rank order/placement rules Electoral law According to Article 2 of the electoral law, two persons of the same sex cannot be subsequently included on the list of candidates.
Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? Yes, other  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law According to Articles 2 and 148 (1) of the electoral law, all nominations for elections must comply with the rules of parity and alternation, i.e. 50% of the candidates must be of each gender and two persons of the same sex cannot be subsequently included on the list of candidates.
Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law According to Article 148 (4) of the electoral law, the electoral authorities must reject lists that do not comply with the quota rules.
Rank order/placement rules Electoral law According to Article 2 of the electoral law, two persons of the same sex cannot be subsequently included on the list of candidates.

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

Party Official name Details, Quota provisions
National Liberation Party Partido Liberación Nacional [PLN] PLN alternates men and women candidates on electoral lists (Article 85 and 108, party statutes; Jager Contreras 2008, p 15-19).Nominations to be defined by provincial election in National Plenary Assembly, is to respect the representation of at least 40% for each gender. (Article 85, Partido Liberacion Nacional Estatuto).
Christian-Social Unity Party Partido Unidad Socialcristiana [PUSC] PUSC alternates men and women candidates on electoral lists (Article 65, party statutes; Jager Contreras 2008, p 15-19). In the integration of all party structures, no more than 60% of its members shall be of the same gender, except for the District Assemblies and the Womens Front. (Article 10, Partido Unidad Social Cristiania Estatuto). The configuration of all candidate lists to elected office shall be held in such a way that no more than 60% of the members are of the same gender. (Article 61, Partido Unidad Social Cristiania Estatuto).
Citizen Action Party Partido Accion Ciudadana [PAC] 50 percent of the candidates must be women, placed at every second place (zipper system) on electoral lists (Article 36, party statutes; Jager Contreras 2008, p 15-19).
Libertarian Movement Party Partido Movimiento Libertario [PML] At least 40% of the seats to be allocated, in a possible government of the Libertarian Movement Party, will be occupied by women. Future internal party structures shall be formed with at least 40% women. The positions to elective office that are presented by the party must be integrated of at least 40% of women, who must be placed in electable positions. (Article 72, Partido Movimiento Libertario Estatuto).

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional Information

The legislative amendment of 2009 stipulating a 50 per cent quota for women in the assembly as well as strict alternation on lists (Electoral Code, Articles 2 and 52) will apply to the 2014 legislative elections. In addition to the electoral gender quotas, the Electoral Law provides that the statutes of the political parties must include provisions for the promotion of gender equality within the party as a whole (Article 52). While the quota rule of 40 per cent was implemented in the 1998 elections, the electoral authorities did not reject lists that did not meet the quota requirement, resulting in criticism from various organizations. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal ruled in 1999 that the quota law should be interpreted in the following way: lists should comprise a minimum of 40 per cent of either sex, and that women should have 40 per cent of electable seats, interpreted as the number of seats the party received in the district in the previous election (Jager Contreras 2008: 5–6; Resolution 1863 of 1999).

Sources

LEGAL SOURCES:

 

OTHER SOURCES:

 

Additional reading

  • García, A.I. 2003. ‘Putting the mandate into practice: legal reform in Costa Rica’, in International IDEA The Implementation of Quotas: Latin American Experiences,
    Quota Workshop Report Series no. 2, Stockholm: International IDEA, pp. 88–101.
  • Htun, Mala N. 2002. ‘Mujeres y poder político en Latinoamérica,’ in International IDEA, Mujeres en el Parlamento. Más allá de los números, Stockholm: International IDEA, pp. 19-44.
  • Htun, Mala N. and Mark P. Jones. 2002. ‘Engendering the Right to Participate in Decision-Making: Electoral Quotas and Women's Leadership in Latin America.’ Nikki Craske and Maxine Molyneux(ed.) Gender and the Politics of Rights and Democracy in Latin America. New York: Palgrave. pp. 32-56.
  • Olsen de Figueres, Karen. 2002. ‘El camino hacia la igualdad. Las mujeres costariccenses en el Parlamento.’(The Road to Equality - Women in Parliament in Costa Rica). Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers. Stockholm: International IDEA. pp 147-156.
  • Peschard, Jacqueline. 2002. ‘El sistema de cuotas en América Latina. Panorama general,’ in International IDEA. Mujeres en el Parlamento. Más allá de los números, Stockholm: International IDEA, pp. 173-186.
  • Women's Leadership Conference of the Americas. 2001. Women and Power in the Americas: A Report Card. Washington: Women's Leadership Conference of the Americas.
  • Torres, Isabel. 2001. La aplicacin de la cuota mnima de participacin de las mujeres.Ficcin o realidad? Un diagnstico para Costa Rica. San Jos: Fundacin Arias para la Paz y el Proceso Humano.
  • Chamorro Santamaría, Isabel. 1999. ‘La participación política de las mujeres.’ Revista parlamentaria 7, no. 1. pp. 73-83.
  • Zúñiga Quirós, Isabel. 1999. ‘Las mujeres en el quehacer político del Partido Unidad Social Cristiana.’ Revista parlamentaria 7, no. 1. pp. 287-315.
  • Camacho, Rosalía. 1998. ‘Las cuotas de participación política de las mujeres. ‘Paper presented at the Inter-American Dialogue/WLCA conference ‘La situación de la mujer en Centro América: una evaluación al umbral del siglo XXI,’ Managua, Nicaragua, March 12-13.
  • Htun, Mala N. 1998. Women's Political Participation, Representation and Leadership in Latin America. Issue Brief, Women's Leadership Conference of the Americas.
  • Camacho Granados, Rosalía, Silvia Lara Povedano, and Ester Serrano Madrigal. 1997. Las cuotas mínimas de participación de las mujeres: Un mecanismo de acción afirmativa(Minimal quotas for women's participation: A mechanism of affirmative action). San José: Centro Nacional para el Desarrollo de la Mujer y la Familia.
  • Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1997a. Men and Women in Politics: Democracy Still in the Making, A World Comparative Study. Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union.
  • Matland, Richard E. and Michelle M. Taylor. 1997. ‘Electoral System Effects on Women's Representation: Theoretical Arguments and Evidence from Costa Rica.’ Comparative Political Studies 30, no. 2. pp. 186-210.
  • Costa Rican Parliament website, http://www.asamblea.go.cr/

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