The Division of Powers in Costa Rica
The division of powers in Costa Rica establishes three distinct branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. Costa Rica has had democratic stability since 1949. It is the only country in the Central American region without an army (along with Panama) and its constitution was written to ensure that it would never have one.
History of the Division of Powers in Costa Rica
In 1821, the people decided to organize themselves politically to form their own government. This is how the Interim Fundamental Social Pact of Costa Rica, known as the Pact of Concord, was created. One of the first constitutional documents of the country where the Supreme Governmental Board was established to exercise the functions of government and a Tribunal was also created to administer justice. The latter became the basis for the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, on September 24, 1824, by means of Decree V issued by the National Constituent Assembly, the division of the State into three powers: Executive, Legislative and Judicial was established.
The Executive Branch is in charge of administering and managing the State, creating and executing policies in accordance with which laws are applied, directing public institutions, representing the country in its diplomatic relations with other States.
It is composed of various ministries and ministers. For example, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor, the Minister of Education, among others. They are the key between the Government’s communication and that of the Congress. They present bills, attend legislative deliberations, and are politically accountable to this body, which is representative of the people.
The legislative power is the institution in charge of creating, reforming and/or repealing the laws of a nation. In the country, it is under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Assembly, which is composed of 57 deputies.
The Legislative Assembly is divided into two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies has 57 deputies who are elected by popular vote every four years. They must be Costa Rican citizens, over 21 years of age and not affiliated with any political party or religion. The Senate has 31 members who are elected by direct vote for six-year terms (six senators per province). They must be Costa Rican citizens, over 40 years of age and not affiliated with any political party or religion.
This is the unicameral body in charge of passing laws.
The judiciary was created as an independent branch of government in 1824. The Constitution maintains that the judiciary is independent of all other branches and is free from any interference or influence.
The Judicial Branch of Costa Rica has the obligation to enforce the laws and administer justice. This, to enforce the objective of the Political Constitution; likewise, it is directed by the legal guidelines established in the Organic Law of the Judiciary. In other words, it is a branch of government that has three main functions: to interpret and apply the law, to administer justice and to maintain public order.
Everything can be reduced in that the President of Costa Rica has the executive power and can veto laws or dissolve the Parliament if necessary. Legislative power resides in both houses of Parliament (the National Assembly and the Senate). Finally, judicial power resides in the Supreme Court and other courts that are independent of the other two branches of government.
- Costa Rica has been governed by a democratic system since 1949.
- The Executive Branch is responsible for administering and managing the State.
- The Legislative Branch is the institution in charge of creating, reforming and/or repealing the laws of a nation.
- The Judicial Branch of Costa Rica has the obligation to enforce the laws and administer justice.
Zelda Walters for Sensorial Sunsets