Elections and Events 1987-1998


Leonard 1998: "Almost immediately after taking office in 1987 Arias initiated a peace process to end the decade-long regional conflict" (page 106).

Yashar 1997: "Oscar Arias Sánchez, then president of Costa Rica, received the [Nobel Peace Prize] in 1987 for his diplomatic efforts to negotiate an end to the civil wars raging in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua" (page vii).


Saint-Germain 1993: "(T)he Arias administration unveiled a piece of legislation on International Women's Day (March 8) 1988, that aimed to address the underrepresentation of women in Costa Rican politics. The most important section of the 'Law of Real Equality for Women" (PLIR) would have amended the electoral code to require that half of all nominees for public office be women" (page 131).



Leonard 1998: "(I)n August 1989 the heads of state of these five Central American republics [excludes Panama] signed a peace accord that promised further democratization in each of their countries" (page 107).


Country report. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama 1990, 1: "In October 1989 the Legislative Assembly refused to agree to Costa Rica joining the Central American Parliament (Parlacen). It expressed concern that extremist groups in Central America would dominate the Parliament" (page 20).


February 4: General election (Calderón Fournier / PUSC)

Barrantes 1990: "Las elecciones en números. Votación para presidente" (page 54). Gives votes by department for each party and coalition. "Padrón nacional electoral" (page 55). Gives registered votes by department, including total number, males, and females. "Votación para diputados" (pages 64-65). Gives by department the votes for each participating party.

Blackford 1992: "The actual elections saw the incumbent PLN losing to the Calderón-led PUSC at all levels. PUSC won 50.2 percent of the valid votes for president, compared to the PLN's 46 percent. The smaller parties were only able to garner 1.2 percent, while nullified and blank ballots accounted for the rest of the vote tally. The abstention rate for these elections was 18.2 percent" (page 78).

Central America report February 9, 1990: "Rafael Angel Calderón's third shot at the presidency proves successful and his United Social Christian Party (PUSC) takes control of the National Assembly" (page 33). Gives number of seats won by each party (page 35).

Central America report February 23, 1990: Discusses concerns of minority parties who received less than 2% of the vote and will lose their legal status (page 54). "Costa Rica: official results of the February 4 elections." Gives for each party the candidate's name and number of votes and percent of vote won.

Cerdas Cruz 1993: Gives the percent of the presidential vote and the number of seats won by each political party (page 96).

Close 1991: "Costa Rica's 1990 election marked the first time two well-organized parties with permanent electoral machines and clear lines of internal authority had squared off" (page 68). Describes the campaign and the outcome (pages 68-69). "1990 Costa Rican election results" (page 69). Gives for each party the number of votes, percent of vote, and number of assembly seats won.

Cómputo de votos y declaratorias de elección para presidente y vicepresidentes, diputados a la Asamblea Legislativa, regidores y síndicos municipales 1991: This is the primary source for all aspects of the election.

Country profile. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama 1990-1991: "The February 4, 1990, elections were dominated by social issues and it was PUSC promises to soften the social effect of economic austerity that won votes" (page 26). Gives percent of vote for two candidates in presidential election and congressional seats won by top two parties. "The 1990 elections confirmed the bi-partisan nature of Costa Rican politics with none of the other eleven parties managing to muster the 1.5 per cent of the vote required to contest the next elections. However, an increase of 4 per cent in the abstention rate to 22 per cent suggests growing disaffection with both dominant parties."

Country profile. Costa Rica, Panama 1993-1994: "Seats in the Legislative Assembly, 1990 elections" (page 11). Gives the seats won by each party.

Country report. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama 1990, 1: "Eleven political parties and eight presidential candidates are officially registered to contest the February 1990 presidential and general elections" (page 19).

Country report. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama 1990, 2: "After an electoral campaign tainted by allegations of corruption and mudslinging between the two main contenders, it was the opposition...(PUSC)...that won the election" (page 19). Gives the percent of the presidential vote and seats won by top two parties.

Dunkerley 1994: "Costa Rica, general, February 1990" (page 148). Gives abstention rate, presidential candidate and party, number and percent of votes received, and congressional seats won.

Estadísticas del sufragio 1990 1993: Provides voter abstention information on all aspects of the election.

Fernández 1991: Describes in detail the issues involved in this election.

Fernández 1992: "Votación recibida para presidente y vicepresidentes por votos válidos, nulos y blancos, según provincia: elecciones 1990" (page 38). Gives numbers of votes. "Adjudicación de plazas de diputados a la asamblea legislativa por partidos políticos, cociente y residuo, según provincias" (page 39).

Figueroa Ibarra 1994: "La victoria de la oposición socialcristiana en las elecciones de febrero de 1990 fue aplastante, no tanto por el número de votos que obtuvo Calderón (50,2%) sino porque por vez primera el PLN perdió el control de la Asamblea Legislativa y de la mayor parte de las alcaldías del país" (page 66).

Hernández Rodríguez 1991a: "Votos válidos en la elección presidencial de 1990" (page 25). Gives by party the total valid votes and valid votes in each province. .

Keesing's record of world events February 1990: Gives all candidates for president and the percent of the vote won by the two top candidates; the percent of the registered voters who voted; and the number of seats won by PUSC, PLN, and "smaller parties" (page 37243).

Lehoucq 1997: "En los comicios de 1990, Calderón Fournier del PUSC superó a Carlos Manuel Castillo del PLN por 4,2 por ciento, es decir, por 57.888 votos válidos" (page 57).

Rojas Bolaños 1990: "El 4 de febrero de 1990 se realizaron elecciones en Costa Rica para elegir presidente, dos vicepresidentes, cincuenta y siete diputados y 1050 regidores municipales en los 81 cantones del país...(D)os grandes partidos, el Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) y el Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), se repartieron el 96.2% del total de votos emitidos en la eleccion de presidente y vicepresidentes, y el 85.1% de los votos en la elección de diputados" (page 353). Gives total voters; total registered voters; the rate of abstention for the country, for each department, and for the major cities; and seats won by each party (pages 353-354). "Costa Rica: partidos contendientes en los diferentes niveles de elección, 1990" (page 355). "Resultados de las elecciones presidenciales por provincia y por partido, 1990" (page 363). Gives number of votes for each party. "Resultado de las elecciones presidenciales, Partido Unidad Social Cristiana y Partido Liberación Nacional por provincia y por cantón, 1990" (pages 364-365). Gives percent of vote for each party.

Rojas Bolaños 1994a: "(S)olamente dos grandes partidos están en condiciones de captar la mayoría de los votos y de gobernar sin necesidad de recurrir a coaliciones con los partidos pequeños. Por ejemplo, en las elecciones de 1990, el Partido Liberación Nacional obtuvo el 46% de los votos recibidos en la elección de presidente y vicepresidentes, y el Partido Unidad Social Cristiana obtuvo el 50% del total de dichos votos. En conjunto, ambos partidos captaron el 96% del total de votos. Una situación similar ocurre con las elecciones para diputados. En las elecciones de 1990, de 57 diputados que integran la Asamblea Legislativa, el PUSC logró elegir a 29 y el PLN a 25; mientras que los partidos minoritarios solamente eligieron a tres diputados. En el nivel local la importancia de los partidos minoritarios parece ser mayor, puesto que en los cantones o municipios frecuentemente los partidos grandes deben recurrir a alianzas y coaliciones con los partidos pequeños, para controlar el Consejo Municipal y nombrar al Ejecutivo Municipal" (pages 244-245).

Vega Carballo 1992: Gives presidential votes for PUSC and PLN and seats in the assembly won by PUSC (page 209).

Wilson 1998: "Calderón lost the 1982 and 1986 presidential elections before finally defeating the PLN candidate...in 1990. [He] won 51 percent of the presidential ballots compared with 47 percent for the PLN, and his party gained a legislative majority (twenty-nine seats)" (page 143).

Law of Real Equality for Women

Saint-Germain 1991: This article is a case study of the "Law of Real Equality for Women," put before the Costa Rican National Legislature in 1988 and passed after the general elections in 1990. "As one of the last official acts of the PLN government, regulations were issued on the specific mechanisms to be employed in implementation of the new law. The regulations stipulate that all political parties must take action to assure the effective political participation of women within the party and to devote a percentage of their funds to the training and participation of women. If they do not, they will not be allowed to register as legal parties for the next elections (in 1994) or receive public funds" (unpaged electronic document).

Saint-Germain 1993: The "Law of Real Equality for Women" "generated intense public discussion for 2 years both inside and outside the national legislature. In the end, the bill's original provisions were watered down, but it was signed into law on International Women's Day March 8, 1990" (page 131).

Saint-Germain 1994: "The recently enacted 'Law of Real Equality for Women' in Costa Rica amended the electoral code to require all political parties to make 'substantial reforms' to increase the participation of women in the party caucus process. This law prompted the PLN to promise to nominate women as candidates for public office at each level of government in proportion to their numbers as party activists and to dedicate 15 percent of its public financing to promoting the political participation of women. This promise could result in large percentages of candidates for local office being women and eventually increase the representation of women at the national level" (page 215).


Moreno 1995a: The "Ley de Promoción de la Igualdad Social de la Mujer" is passed by the Legislative Assembly in March 1992 (page 27). "Debemos recordar que la primera propuesta de la Ley...se centraba fundamentalmente en la adopción de medidas de discriminación positiva dentro de los partidos políticos que aceleraran la incorporación de la mujer a los cargos de toma de decisiones políticas." Gives the full text of the law governing political rights for women (page 28) and gives statistics on the increase in women's political participation between 1989 and 1993 at the local, departmental, and national levels.


February 6: General election (Figueres Olsen / PLN)

Central America report February 11, 1994: Gives percent of vote for PLN and PUSC presidential candidates, seats won by each party, and percent of registered voters who voted.

Cómputo de votos y declaratorias de elección para presidente y vicepresidentes, diputados a la Asamblea Legislativa, regidores y síndicos municipales 1995: This is the primary source for all aspects of the election.

Country profile. Costa Rica, Panama 1994-1995: "Seats in the Legislative Assembly, 1994 elections" (page 12). Gives seats won by each party.

Country report. Costa Rica, Panama 1994, 2: "(W)hen the votes were finally cast Mr. Figueres came out just ahead, polling 49.7% to Mr. Rodríguez's 47.5%" (page 12). "In the Legislative Assembly elections, also held on February 6, the PLN took 28 seats, the PUSC 25 and independents the remaining four."

Elegir y no ser elegidas: el significado político del voto femenino 1994: Nine women are elected to congress, 16% of the total (page 7).

Estadísticas del sufragio 1994 1994: Provides a wide variety of statistics on the 1994 elections with an emphasis on abstention rates.

Gudmundson 1996: "On February 6, 1994, the PLN won the presidency by the narrowest margin recorded since 1966...Indeed, the margin of victory, 28,628 votes, was actually smaller than the number of invalid or defaced ballots cast" (pages 78-79). Gives congressional seats won by each party (page 79).

Keesing's record of world events February 1994: Gives the number of votes and percent of vote for two leading presidential candidates; the percent of registered voters who abstained; and the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly won by PLN, PUSC, and independents (page 39857).

Lehoucq 1995: "On Sunday, 6 February 1994, elections were held in Costa Rica to elect a president, all 57 members of the Legislative Assembly and to fill 953 municipal seats" (page 69). Gives background to the election, describes the campaign, details electoral laws, and describes the election's outcome.

Lehoucq 1997: "Los comicios de 1994 fueron muy competitivos y, en las últimas semanas de la campaña, inciertos...Al final, sin embargo, el atractivo del apellido Figueres junto con la lealtad partidaria, parecen haber convencido a una mayoría de votantes de apoyar al partido asociado con la consolidación del Estado benefactor en Costa Rica" (page 59).

Moreno 1995: Rebeca Grynspan is elected second vice president (page 50).

Rojas Bolaños 1997: "El 6 de febrero de 1994...se realizaron elecciones generales para elegir las principales autoridades del país: presidente, dos vicepresidentes, 57 diputados a la Asamblea Legislativa...y 953 autoridades municipales: 525 regidores y 428 síndicos...En las elecciones de 1994, que fueron ganadas por el PLN, los dos partidos [PLN y PUSC] captaron aproximadamente el 97% del total de votos válidos para presidente y vicepresidentes...(E)l PLN eligió 28 diputados y el PUSC 25. Los partidos pequeños aumentaron ligeramente su cuota: cuatro diputados" (page 186).

Rovira Mas 1994: "En estas elecciones generales, que cada cuatro años se realizan durante el primer domingo del mes de febrero, la voluntad popular fue convocada para renovar la Presidencia de la República, las 57 diputaciones de que se compone la Asamblea Legislativa (de una sola càmara) y los concejos de los 81 municipios en que está dividido el país" (page 43). Gives seats won by PLN and PUSC (page 55).

Rovira Mas 1994a: José María Figueres Olsen is elected to succeed Rafael Angel Calderón Fournier, "hijo del que fuera gran enemigo de su padre, refrendando así una vez más la sólida legitimidad de que goza el moderno régimen democrático costarricense...La diferencia de votos entre el triunfante...(PLN) y el malogrado...(PUSC)...fue de apenas 28,778 votos (el 1.93% de los votos válidamente emitidos) " (page 39).

Statistical abstract of Latin America volume 32 1996: "Costa Rica presidential election results, by political party and candidate (February 6, 1994)" (page 290). "Costa Rica total votes in presidential elections (February 6, 1994)." "Costa Rica legislative and municipal election results, by political party (February 6, 1994)." "Costa Rica legislative and municipal election results (February 6, 1994)."


Central America report November 13, 1997: Electoral reforms implemented in December 1996 stipulate "40% women candidates in posts with a real possibility of being won" (page 2).

Country report. Costa Rica 1997, 2: "On November 28 a set of reforms to the Electoral Code were passed by the Legislative Assembly after a six-year debate. The most important changes are limitations on the funding of political parties...Other changes include a minimum 40% female representation in party institutions" (page 15).


Central America report November 13, 1997: The Women and Family Center (CMF), who lobbied for the reform calling for more women candidates, calls for the TSE to identify parties refusing to implement it (page 2). "Deputies tried to postpone implementing the quota until the year 2002, but pressure from women's groups prevented the delay."

Country report. Costa Rica 1997, 4: Both presidential candidates announce that their vice-presidential running mates will be women, as the political parties attempt "to conform to the electoral reforms of December 1996, which stipulate that they must field women candidates for 40% of public posts which they have a real chance of winning" (page 10).


February 1: General election (Rodríguez Echeverría / PUSC)

Central America report November 13, 1997: The candidates for the general election on February 1, 1998 include three women running for president and sixteen for vice president (page 1). "Representation in proportion to the population has been a long time coming, since the reforms setting the current requirement of 40% women candidates were first proposed in 1990." "Women candidates from main political parties" (page 2).

Central America report January 29, 1998: "Despite the fact that 32 separate political parties have been registered with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the election campaign has once again been dominated by the traditional bi-party system, involving the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN) and the Christian Social Unity Party (PUSC)" (pages 2-3).

Central America report February 5, 1998: "Preliminary results, with 97% of votes counted, give PUSC 29 seats in the Legislative Assembly, 22 to the PLN, and another six to other parties" (page 1). "Preliminary results, with 97% of votes counted" (page 2). Gives number of registered voters, total votes, percent of abstention, and percent of the vote for each presidential candidate.

Central America report February 19, 1998: "Election results (prior to final TSE revision)" (page 7). Gives number of votes and percent of vote for each party, registered voters, valid votes cast, abstention rate, and percentage of votes for top three presidential candidates.

Country profile. Costa Rica 1998-1999: "Seats in the Legislative Assembly, 1998 election" (page 7). Gives number of seats won by each party.

Country report. Costa Rica 1998, 1: "Presidential election results" (page 10). Gives number of voters and percent of total who voted, abstained, voted for each of six parties, and for remaining seven parties; number and percent of blank votes; number and percent of null votes; and number of registered voters. "Initial results of the 1998 legislative elections" (page 11). Gives by province the number of seats won by each party.

Country report. Costa Rica 1998, 2: "Final results of the 1998 legislative election" (page 11). Gives number of seats won by each party.

Country report. Costa Rica 1998, 3: The two elected vice-presidents are Astrid Fischel and Elizabeth Odio (page 4).

EcoCentral: Central American economy & sustainable development February 5, 1998: "With almost all votes counted, the unofficial tally gave Rodriguez 46% of the vote and Corrales 44%, with 11 other candidates sharing the remainder...The campaign and election were marked by voter apathy and considerable mudslinging by both major candidates" (page 2).

Keesing's record of world events February 1998: "The turnout in the presidential and legislative elections was recorded at 71.2 percent, the lowest figure in some 40 years" (page 42058). "Results of Costa Rica presidential elections." Gives percent of vote and number of votes for top two candidates. Gives congressional seats won by PLN and PUSC.

Wilson 1998: "On the first Sunday in February 1998, Costa Ricans went to the polls to elect a president, two vice presidents, and all fifty-seven members of the Legislative Assembly" (page 1). "A record thirteen candidates contested the 1998 presidential elections...The final vote count...revealed a narrow 2.44 percent victory for [PUSC]...The PUSC controls twenty-seven seats in the assembly compared with twenty-three for the PLN and seven for third parties" (page 158).

Wilson 1998a: Describes the campaign, electoral law, the election, and gives the results. "While a total of 4 women are in the new cabinet, women fared less well in the Legislative Assembly elections where the number of women remains at 19 percent" (page 588).


Country report. Costa Rica 1998, 2: On May 1st councils elected in February took over the country's 81 local governments and proceeded to elect directorates. The PUSC secured the presidency of 55 directorates of local governments, while the PLN obtained presidencies of only 16 local government directorates" (page 13).