New CSES Country Spotlight: Costa Rica

In the New CSES Country Spotlight series, collaborators from an election study including CSES for the first time discuss its electoral context and the significance of running CSES in the country.

New CSES Country Spotlight: Costa Rica
Ronald Alfaro-Redondo

Costa Rica will join the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) collaborative program of research in the near future. Costa Rica is a singular case. We are talking about the oldest and most stable democracy in Latin America. Here, contests are free and fair, electoral rules and institutions are strong and truthful. The Electoral Supreme Court ranks in the top of their counterparts in the world. As a member of the local research team all I can say is that we are eager to be part of this comparative project.

Overall, almost two thirds of the established democracies worldwide have experienced a significant reduction in turnout since 1945. Under typical conditions, the alienation of a growing part of the electorate should ring some alarms in terms of calling the legitimacy of the elected authorities and their decisions into question. Moreover, episodes of lower turnout can be interpreted as showing that voters’ attachments to the political system are fragile and vulnerable. In addition, the circumstances related to lower turnout may cause an enduring effect on individuals’ political behavior. Continue reading “New CSES Country Spotlight: Costa Rica”