The Republic of Costa Rica, an independent State since the year 1821, and forming part from 1824 to 1829 of the Confederation of Central America, is governed under a Constitution promulgated on December 7, 1871, and modified very frequently since that date. Practically there was no constitution, but only dictatorships, between 1870 and 1882. The legislative power is vested in a Chamber of Representatives called the Constitutional Congress, and made up of 43 deputies, being one representative to every 8,000 inhabitants. By the Election Law of August 18, 1913, universal suffrage was adopted for all male citizens who are of age and able to support themselves, except those deprived of civil rights, criminals, bankrupts and the insane. Voting for President, Deputies and Municipal Councillors is public, direct and free. According to the election law of October 28, 1918, the election of President and Vice-President of the Republic is made by an electoral college composed of those who at the time of the election are senators and deputies, and by those who, at any time within a period of six months, may have been President of the Republic. The members of the Chamber are elected for the term of four years, one-half retiring every two years. The executive authority is in the hands of a President, elected for the term of four years.
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