The Legislative Assembly (Spanish: Asamblea Legislativa) is the unicameral legislative branch of the government of Costa Rica. The national congress building is located in the city capital, San José, specifically in El Carmen District in San José Canton.


The Legislative Assembly is composed of 57 deputies (diputados), who are elected by direct, universal, popular vote on a proportional representation basis, by provinces, for four-year terms. A 1949 constitutional amendment prevents deputies from serving for two successive terms; however, a deputy may run again for an Assembly seat after sitting out a term.

Seat allocation
Province Number of seats Population
 San José 19 1,404,242
 Alajuela 11 885,571
 Cartago 7 490,303
 Heredia 6 433,677
 Puntarenas 5 410,929
 Limón 5 386,862
 Guanacaste 4 354,154


Following the 2014 legislative election, the Citizens' Action Party was able to form an alliance with Broad Front and the Social Christian Unity Party. The three parties together amounted to thirty seats, thus giving them control of the legislature.[1] The alliance broke a year later, with PAC only receiving the support of Broad Front and PUSC joinning an opposition-lead alliance headed by PLN that gave PUSC the presidency of Congress.[2] This was the first time that historical rivals PLN and PUSC join together in Parliament. The following year PLN's candidate was endorsed by the oppositional alliance whilst PAC and FA voted by their respective ballots.[2]

Parties in Legislative Assembly, 2014-2018

Political Parties in, 2014-2018
Asamblea Legislativa de Costa Rica 2014-2018 2.png
Party Flag Party Name (English) Party Name (Spanish) Abbrev. Seats Percentage of Assembly
Bandera de Partido Liberación Nacional.svg
National Liberation Party Partido Liberación Nacional PLN 18 31.5%
Logo of Citizens' Action Party.png
Citizens' Action Party Partido Acción Ciudadana PAC 13 22.6%
Broad Front Frente Amplio FA 9 15.7%
Bandera del Partido Unidad Social Cristiana.svg
Social Christian Unity Party Partido Unidad Social Cristiana PUSC 8 14.0%
Libertarian Movement Partido Movimiento Libertario PML 4 7.0%
Bandera de Renovación Costarricense.svg
Costa Rican Renewal Party Partido Renovación Costarricense PRC 2 3.5%
Bandera Partido Restauracionnacional.png
National Restoration Party Partido Restauración Nacional PRN 1 1.7%
Accessibility without Exclusion Partido Accesibilidad sin Exclusión PASE 1 1.7%
Christian Democratic Alliance Alianza Demócrata Cristiana ADC 1 1.7%


The Assembly meets in the Edificio Central ("Central Building") located in the city centre of San José. Work began on this building in 1937, with the plan of having it serve as the new presidential palace. Since much of the building materials were imported from Germany and Czechoslovakia, however, the onset of the Second World War put a halt to the project. Work did not recommence until 1957, but by 1958 the legislature was installed and operating in its new premises.


The foundations of the Legislative Assembly date back to the establishment of various courts and congresses in New Spain.[3] The modern assembly was created in the aftermath of the Costa Rican Civil War that deposed Teodoro Picado Michalski in 1948. José Figueres Ferrer headed a ruling junta that oversaw the election of a Constituent Assembly. Between 1948 and 1949, this Constituent Assembly created the Constitution of Costa Rica which lays forth the rules governing the assembly today.[4]

During each four-year legislative session, various political parties have occupied majority, minority, and coalition banks in the assembly.

Central American Parliament

Costa Rica is the only Spanish-speaking Central American country not to return deputies to the supranational Central American Parliament.

See also


  1. ^ La Nacion, "30 diputados eligieron al economista Henry Mora, del PAC, comon presidente legislativo," May 1, 2014
  2. ^ a b "Opposition parties maintain control over Legislative Assembly". Tico Times. May 1, 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Clotilde Obregón Quesada Clotilde (2007). Las Constituciones de Costa Rica. Tomo I. San José, Costa Rica: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica. ISBN 978-9968-936-91-0. 
  4. ^ Dieter Nohlen (2005-04-14). Elections in the Americas A Data Handbook Volume 1: North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6. 

External links