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Costa Rica

https://www.idea.int/democracytracker/

February 2024

Costa Rica holds municipal elections
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On 4 February, Costa Rica held subnational elections of authorities from its 84 municipalities and 492 districts. Despite voting being mandatory in Costa Rica (albeit, with no sanctions for not voting), turnout was particularly low at 31 per cent (the lowest turnout since 2010), and five percentage points less than in the previous subnational process. 

This was the first time that measures to ensure gender parity in the lists of candidacies (both for single-seat constituencies and proportional representation) were implemented.  

Significantly, the Electoral Tribunal’s President expressed concern over the aggressive disinformation campaign targeting members of the Tribunal and aiming to prevent elections from taking place, an issue also highlighted by an OAS electoral observation mission. According to the latter, multiple stakeholders agreed in their concern over the risk of illicit funding of campaigns, given organized crime’s increased presence in the country. 

Sources: Organization of American States, El Pais, International IDEA

September 2023

Government declares national emergency over increased migration
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President Rodrigo Chaves signed a national emergency decree over increased numbers of migrants crossing into Costa Rica on their way to the United States. According to government data, so far in 2023, 320,110 people have crossed into Costa Rica through Paso Canoas, bordering Panama. Costa Rica’s southern border had received nearly 84,500 people in August, more than double the previous month. Clashes between migrants and police agents preceded the announcement of this measure, as tension with residents of bordering cities and towns grew. According to the government, the national emergency declaration will enable it to allocate sufficient funds and take necessary administrative measures to ensure the safe transit of migrants. 

Sources: Presidencia de Costa Rica, Deutsche Welle, British Broadcasting Corporation, Cable News Network

May 2023

Constitutional Chamber rules against President Chaves and Health minister for verbal attacks on journalists

The Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber has ruled against President Rodrigo Chaves and his cabinet’s former Health Minister for comments made against journalists. The appeal for constitutional protection (amparo) was presented by journalist Jason Ureña, who alleged that the President’s and former Health Minister’s comments, including their descriptions of reporters as “political hitmen”, contributed to harassment against journalists. The harsh criticism from government officials were responses to news reports that indicated the former Health Minister had hired a communication network to harass critical news organizations. 

The government officials were ordered by the Chamber to pay damages and costs for the stigmatizing language used against journalists. 

Sources: La Nacion (1), La Nacion (2), El Universal

April 2023

President Chaves presents new security plan

On 19 April, President Rodrigo Chaves presented a new security plan that aims to curtail the rise in violent crime in Costa Rica. Government sources have stated that 2022 was the year that recorded the most murders in the country, and data from the first trimester of 2023 indicate a 40 per cent increase in homicides compared to last year. The plan includes measures to increase police presence in the streets, as well as  reforms to impose stricter sanctions on illegal gun ownership, facilitate the extradition of violent criminals (even to those countries with which no extradition treaties exist), charge those under the age of 18 as adults in cases of for- hire killings, and restrict penitentiary benefits for those found criminally responsible for violent crime.

Sources: Head Topics España, EcoTV Panama, The Tico Times, La Republica

See all event reports for this country

GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
5 139 050
System of government
Presidential system
Head of government
President Rodrigo Chaves Robles (since 2022)
Head of government party
Social Democratic Progress Party (PPSD)
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
List Proportional Representation
Women in lower or single chamber
47.4%
Women in upper chamber
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2022
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
7.66
Head of state
President Rodrigo Chaves Robles
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (modified two-round)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
13/05/2019
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
91.51%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
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International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
State Party
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
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Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
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Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
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Equal Remuneration Convention
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Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
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Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
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Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
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Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
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Regional Treaties
American Convention on Human Rights
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Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
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Performance by category over the last 6 months

Representation neutral Representation
Nov 2023
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Apr 2024
Representation neutral Rights
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Representation neutral Rule of law
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Representation neutral Participation
Nov 2023
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Global State of Democracy Indices

Hover over the trend lines to see the exact data points across the years

Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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