New Parline: the IPU’s Open Data Platform (beta)
Your one-stop-shop for information about national parliaments

Costa Rica

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Legislative Assembly

Election results

Data on parliamentary elections, including the background, candidates, voter turnout, results and the formation of the new legislature. By default the latest election results are displayed. Select a date to view results from previous elections

Background

Election date(s) The date when elections started and ended for directly or indirectly elected parliaments/chambers. The date of appointments for appointed parliaments/chambers.
04.02.2018
Timing of election Timing of election: Upon normal expiry; Early elections; Delayed elections
Upon normal expiry
Expected date of next elections The expected date at which the next elections should take place, based on law or practice.
28.02.2022
Number of seats at stake Number of seats contested at the elections. Where the parliament/chamber is fully renewed, this number is usually identical to the statutory number of members. Where the parliament/chamber is partially renewed or appointed, the number of seats at stake is usually less than the total number of members.
57
Scope of elections Scope of elections: Full renewal; Partial renewal.
Full renewal

Candidates

Total number of candidates Total number of people who registered as candidates for election. Does not include people who stood as candidates to become "substitute members".
1,048
Number of male candidates Number of male candidates
531
Number of female candidates Number of female candidates
517
The number of women candidates is not available from authoritative sources.
No
Percentage of women candidates The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of women candidates by the total number of candidates.
49.33%
Number of parties contesting the election This field may include either the number of parties contesting the election, or the number of coalitions/electoral alliance.
26

Voter turnout

Registration Number of people registered to vote
3,290,465
Votes Number of people who actually voted
2,178,096
Voter turnout The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of people who actually voted by the number of people registered to vote
66.19%

Results

About the election Short description of the context and results of the election.
As in the previous elections, no party won an outright majority in the 57-member Legislative Assembly. Only three parties secured more than 10 seats: National Liberation Party (PLN, which governed the country between 2006 and 2014), the National Restoration Party (PRN, comprising evangelical Christians) and outgoing President Luis Guillermo Solís' Citizens' Action Party (PAC). He was constitutionally barred from seeking a second consecutive presidential term. 
 
 In the presidential elections, no candidate secured the required 40 per cent of the votes to be elected in the first round, held in parallel with the parliamentary polls. On 1 April, Mr. Carlos Alvarado Quesada (PAC) defeated Mr. Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz (PRN) in the runoff election. On 8 May, the 38-year-old former Labour Minister was sworn in, thereby becoming the youngest ever President of Costa Rica. His deputy, Ms. Epsy Campbell, is the country's first Afro-Costa Rican Vice President. 
 
 President Alvarado Quesada formed a five-party coalition government comprising the PAC, the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), the PLN, the Broad Front (FA) and the 21st Century Curridabat (Curridabat Siglo XXI, which does not hold any seats in the Legislative Assembly). The Cabinet is made up of 16 men and 15 women. Meanwhile, on 1 May, Ms. Carolina Hidalgo Herrera (PAC), 35, became the youngest Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
 
 The 2018 elections were held shortly after a decision on 9 January by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that signatories – including Costa Rica – must guarantee same-sex couples equal rights to marriage and property ownership. The decision pushed debate on gay marriage to the centre of the election campaign. Mr. Quesada (PAC) pledged to implement the decision while Mr. Muñoz (PRN) vowed to restore what he called traditional values by preventing gay marriage and restricting women's access to abortion. PLN's presidential candidate, Mr. Antonio Álvarez, promised to reform public salaries and to introduce a value-added tax.
 
 In addition to "vertical parity" (men and women alternating within each list to ensure 50-50% gender parity), starting from the 2018 elections, political parties are expected (see note) to respect "horizontal parity" for the heads of the lists through their internal regulations. The parties fielding candidates in all seven provinces should submit lists headed by the less represented gender in at least three provinces.
 
 Note:
 The May 2016 resolution (3603-E8-2016) of the Election Commission (Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones) provided an unofficial interpretation of articles 2, 52 and 148 of the Electoral Code on the scope of the principle of parity for the head of the lists of candidates (without amending the Electoral Code itself), thereby indicating that all parties should adjust their candidate lists according to the principles of vertical and horizontal parity. A subsequent Electoral Commission resolution in September 2017 (5876-E1-2017) clarified that political parties should define mechanisms to ensure horizontal parity in their internal regulations, thereby making horizontal parity non-compulsory.
Number of parties winning seats The number of parties which won parliamentary representation in the given election.
7
Percentage of parties winning seats The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of parties which won parliamentary representation by the number of parties contesting the election.
26.92%
Percentage of seats won by largest party or coalition The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of seats won by the largest party by the number of seats at stake in the election.
29.82%
Alternation of power after elections The results of the elections caused a change in the government. "Not applicable" to countries using the presidential system when parliamentary and presidential elections are held separately, to countries in political transition or where there is no party system.
No
Note on the alternation of power
Presidential system
Names of parties in government The government may be formed by one or more political parties
Citizens' Action Party (PAC), Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), National Liberation Party (PLN), Broad Front (FA) and 21st Century Curridabat (Curridabat Siglo XXI, which itself does not hold any seat in the Legislative Assembly)
Parties or coalitions winning seats
Political groups winning seats breakdown
Political group Total
National Liberation Party (PLN) 17
National Restoration Party (PRN) 14
Citizens' Action Party (PAC) 10
Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) 9
National Integration Party (PIN) 4
Social-Christian Republican Party (PRSC) 2
Broad Front (FA) 1
Members elected, by sex
Number of men elected
31
Number of women elected
26
Percentage of women elected The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of women elected in the election and the number of seats at stake at the election.
45.61%
Sources
Legislative Assembly (20.02.2018) Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (03.05.2018) La Nación Q Costa Rica The Economist France 24
Women Directly Elected
26

New legislature

Total number of men after the election The total number of male parliamentarians in this parliament/chamber following the election or renewal, regardless of their modes of designation.
31
Total number of women after the election The total number of female parliamentarians in this parliament/chamber following the election or renewal, regardless of their modes of designation.
26
Date of the first session The date when the newly elected parliament/chamber was convened for the first time. It may be different from the date when members were sworn in.
01.05.2018
First Speaker of the new legislature
First Speaker of the new legislature First name of the Speaker of the new legislature following the election or renewal.
Carolina Hidalgo Herrera (Female)
Political party
Citizens' Action Party (PAC)
Date of election
01.05.2018