Sunday 13 June 2021

How to Approach A Presidential Election in Costa Rica As A Foreigner

I would say that most foreigners of the nationalities of Canadians, Americans, and Europeans, resident in Costa Rica, take little, or no interest in Presidential Elections in Costa Rica. As we are currently in the midst of a Presidential Election Campaign, culminating in a vote early in the month of February, 2014, I would suggest that to the extent that the law permits, it would be in the interest of such foreigners to become involved.

COSTA RICA-ELECTIONS-VOTERSForeigners who are Naturalized Costa Ricans are eligible to vote, like any other Costa Rican. Such Naturalized Citizens are only banned from holding the Offices of President, President of the Supreme Elections Tribunal, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Constitutional Court).

Foreigners who are not Naturalized Costa Ricans, may not participate directly in the Election, or Political process.  However, such foreigners may participate indirectly by way of campaign contributions for the candidate, or Party of their choosing, or patronizing the business enterprises of the candidate, or Party of their choosing; in other words, voting with their “pocketbook”.

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In order to effectively participate in the Election, or Political process, such foreigners will be faced with having to address long-standing values that they have held from their home countries. Compromises will be necessary as distasteful as they may seem. The most fundamental compromise for foreigners will be that corruption is an integral part of the Political process, not only in Costa Rica, but in Latin Countries generally.

Yes, corruption does exist in the Political process of the home countries of the foreigners as well, but I can assure you that after fifteen plus years of living here, it is nothing like the level that exists in Costa Rica, nor is it so outwardly practiced. Having said that, it is better to undertake an evaluation of a person for the position of President, who is competent and will “get things done”.

The selection by the President of the Ministers and the Advisers who will occupy the Executive Branch of Government is fundamental to a Government’s success.  Forget the inevitable “kick-backs” and the benefiting of family and friends with public funds and opportunities at the expense of the Country.  If the Economy of Costa Rica is enhanced and the infrastructure is improved through prudent Presidential decision making, this has to be the goal.

The history of the current Presidential Candidates is available on the Internet to be scrutinized by those foreigners who care to be involved.

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We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney; Email:, Website:

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