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Asamblea Legislativa (Legislative Assembly)

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A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name (generic / translated) Asamblea Legislativa / Legislative Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 4 February 2018
Purpose of elections 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.

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.
Date of previous elections: 2 February 2014

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: N/A

Timing of election: Upon normal expiry

Expected date of next elections: February 2022

Number of seats at stake: 57 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 1,048 (531 men, 517 women)

Percentage of women candidates: 49.3%

Number of parties contesting the election: 26

Number of parties winning seats: 7

Alternation of power: No
Note: Presidential system

Number of parties in government: 5

Names of parties in government: 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)

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 1 May 2018

Name of the new Speaker: Ms. Carolina Hidalgo Herrera (Citizens' Action Party, PAC)
Voter turnout
Round no 14 February 2018
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
2'178'096 (66.19%)

Notes The turnout figures above refer to the parliamentary elections in which Costa Ricans abroad did not participate. Out of a total of 3,322,329 voters registered to vote in the 2018 elections, 31,864 resided abroad.
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
National Liberation Party (PLN)
National Restoration Party (PRN)
Citizens' Action Party (PAC)
Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC)
National Integration Party (PIN)
Social-Christian Republican Party (PRSC)
Broad Front (FA)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
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
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Legislative Assembly (20.02.2018)
Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (03.05.2018)

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