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Asamblea Legislativa (Legislative Assembly)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Electoral system module

Parliament name (generic / translated) Asamblea Legislativa / Legislative Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Electoral Law 1 January 1953
Last amendment: 23 May 2016 (Resolution n° 3603-E8-2016)
Mode of designation directly elected 57
Constituencies 7 multi-member constituencies (4 to 21 seats, according to population), one for each of the country's provinces
Voting system Proportional: Closed party list system.
Parties which have attained the required quotient are entitled for seat distribution. Seats remaining unfilled on the basis of the quotient system are distributed among parties in the order of their residual votes; parties which did not attain the sub-quotient are also taken into account, their votes being treated as residual votes.
The quotient is the number obtained by dividing the total of valid votes cast in a particular province by the number of seats to be filled in the same province; the sub quotient is the total of valid votes cast for a party which, while not attaining the quotient, obtains or exceeds 50% of it.
Vacancies arising between general elections are filled by the "next in line" candidate on the party list to which the former member belonged, as declared by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
Voting is compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 18
- Costa Rican citizenship (naturalized citizens can only vote 12 months after acquiring that status)
- residence in the country
- disqualifications: judicial interdiction, suspension of political rights, persons serving a prison term, dementia, undocumented immigrants
Eligibility - qualified electors
- age: 21
- Costa Rican citizenship by birth or residence in the country for at least 10 years after naturalization
- full possession of civil rights
Incompatibilities - President of the Republic (or his/her close relatives)
- government ministers
- certain high judges
- members of the armed forces on active duty
- senior officials of provincial governments or autonomous institutions
- public contractors
Candidacy requirements - Submission of list of candidates by political parties;
- Political parties must ensure "vertical parity" (men and women alternating within each list to ensure 50-50% gender parity, and the difference between the number of candidates of both sexes cannot exceed one);
- Political parties are also encouraged to respect "horizontal parity" for the heads of the lists through their internal regulations. The parties fielding candidates in all the seven provinces must submit lists headed by a less represented gender in at least three provinces.

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 making it necessary for all parties to 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 must define mechanisms to ensure horizontal parity in their internal regulations, thereby making horizontal parity non-compulsory.
- no monetary deposit required

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