Government
Costa Rica is a democratic republic, as defined by the 1949 Constitution, which guarantees all citizens and foreigners equality before the law, the right to own property, the right of petition and assembly, freedom of speech, and the right to habeas corpus. As in the United States, the government is divided into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches, with "separation of powers" consecrated under Article 9 of the Constitution (none of the powers, for example, can delegate to another the exercise of its functions). In 1969 an amendment ruled that neither the incumbent president nor any former president may be reelected (they must also be secular citizens; i.e. not a priest).


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