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The Government and Political System in Costa Rica

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The country’s official name is Republic of Costa Rica. It is one of the oldest democracies in the Americas; its first election was held in 1889. It is a democratic republic, as stated in the 1949 Constitution, with a very strong system of constitutional checks and balances. The government is divided into independent executive, legislative, and judicial powers. Executive responsibilities are vested in a president, who is the country's center of power and is elected by free elections for a 4-year term and is not eligible for reelection. Two vice-presidents are elected through this same process. The president has the authority to choose a cabinet of ministers. Congress, the legislative branch, is a unicameral parliament. 57 congressmen are elected to 4-year term, chosen from political party candidates. The General Court is the highest judicial body. It is composed of 22 magistrates, elected by Congress to a minimum of eight years. The General Court manages judicial power and is responsible for naming judges and tribunals.

The current President of Costa Rica is Oscar Arias Sanchez. He has 2 Vice Presidents; the First is Oscar Arias Sanchez and the Second Vice President and also the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports is Maria Elena Carballo.

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