Costa Rica 1949 Constitution (reviewed 2020)

Table of Contents

Title XII. The Municipal Regime

Sole Chapter

Article 168

To the effects of the Public Administration the national territory is divided into provinces, these into cantons and the cantons into districts. The law may establish special distributions.

The Legislative Assembly may decree, observing the procedures for partial reform to this Constitution, the creation of new provinces, as long as the respective bill is previously approved in a plebiscite that the Assembly will order to be celebrated in the province or provinces that support the dismemberment.

The creation of new cantons requires[,] to be approved by the Legislative Assembly[,] through a vote of no less than two-thirds of the total of its members.

Article 169

The administration of the local interests and services in each canton, will be the responsibility of the Municipal Government, formed by a deliberative body, integrated by municipal Regidores [Aldermen] of popular election, and of an executive functionary that the law will designate.

Article 170

The municipal corporations are autonomous. In the Ordinary Budget of the Republic, all the municipalities of the country will be allocated a sum that will not be inferior to a ten percent (10%) of the ordinary revenues calculated for the corresponding economic year.

The law will determine the competences that will be transferred from the Executive Power to the municipal corporations and the distribution of the indicated resources.

Article 171

The Municipal Regidores will be elected for four years and will perform their offices obligatorily.

The law will determine the number of Regidores and the form in which they will act. Nevertheless, the Municipalities of the central cantons of [the] provinces will be integrated by no less than five titular Regidores and equal number of substitutes.

The Municipalities will be installed on the first day of May of the corresponding year.

Article 172

Each district will be represented before the Municipality by a titular Syndic and a substitute with voice but without vote.

For the administration of the interests and services in the districts of the canton, in qualified cases, the municipalities may create municipal councils of [the] district, as organs registered to the respective municipality with [their] own functional autonomy, which will be integrated following the same procedures of popular election used to conform the municipalities. A special law, approved by two-thirds of the total of the Deputies, will establish the special conditions in which they may be created and will regulate their structure, functioning and financing.

Article 173

The municipal agreements may be:

  1. Objected to by the functionary that the law indicates, in the form of reasoned veto;
  2. Appealed by any interested [person].

In both cases, if the Municipality does not revoke or reform the agreement objected to or appealed, the prior records will pass to the Tribunal dependent of the Judicial Power that the law indicates for it to decide definitively.

Article 174

The law will indicate in what cases the Municipalities will need legislative authorization to contract loans, give as guarantee their assets or incomes, or sale movable or immovable assets.

Article 175

The Municipalities will adopt their ordinary or extraordinary budgets, which will need, to enter into force, the approval of the Office of the Comptroller General, which will supervise their execution.