The republic of Costa Rica (literally the ‘Rich Coast’) has been an independent state since the year 1821, although it formed, from 1824 to 1838, part of the Confederation of Central America. It has been governed under a constitution promulgated on 7 Dec. 1871, and modified very frequently since that date and as recently as 1949. The legislative power is normally vested in a single chamber called the Constitutional Congress, which since 1946 consists of 45 deputies, 1 for every 15,000 inhabitants. The members of the chamber are elected for 4 years, one-half retiring every 2 years. The President is elected for 4 years; the candidate receiving the largest vote, provided it is over 40% of the total, is declared elected, but a second ballot is required if no candidate gets 40% of the total. By the election law of 18 Jan. 1946 all citizens who are 20 years of age are entitled to vote; married men and teachers, from the age of 18. Barred are those deprived of civil rights, criminals, bankrupts and the insane; women over 21 were enfranchised in 1949, under the new constitution. Elections are normally held on the second Sunday in February. Voting for President, Deputies and Municipal Councillors is, by the law of 26 July 1925, secret, and, by an amendment to the constitution in 1936, compulsory for all men under 70 years of age. Independent non-party candidates are barred from the ballot.
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Books of Reference
- Biesanz, J. and M., Costa Rican Life. 3rd printing. New York, 1946Google Scholar
- Fernández Guardia, L., Historia de Costa Rica. 2nd ed., 2 vols. San José, 1941Google Scholar
- May, S., and others, Costa Rica. New York, 1952Google Scholar
- Trejos, Juan, Geografía ilustrada de Costa Rica. San José, 1948Google Scholar