March 11th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) A 2012 report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on governments and parliaments worldwide reveals that Costa Rica has more legislative officials and lawmakers than nations like Singapore, Croatia and Norway, countries that can be considered more developed than Costa Rica but which have a similar population.
The report compares the number of staff of Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly – 683 as of April 2012 – with parliaments such as Norway (445 staff), Croatia (250), United Arab Emirates (97) and Singapore (43).
Costa Rica even has more officials than countries like Colombia, which has a population of more than 50 million yet has only 571 staff in its parliament, and more than the Czech Republic and Hungary, both of which have more than 10 million inhabitants.
The disproportionate size of government in Costa Rica is reflected in the legislative process. In countries like Singapore, for example, the maximum amount of time to pass a bill is one year, whereas in Costa Rica there is no limit and some bills can stay in plenary for up to 28 years, as in the case of the indigenous autonomy law.
The executive director of the Assembly, Antonio Ayales, explained that each incumbent lawmaker has an average of 8.05 advisors. Members are also able to request two administrative staff.
Political analyst Stefan Gomez said that although it is difficult to compare governments and legislative systems, it is clear that in Costa Rica, in hindsight, there are serious shortcomings in the legislature, including the amount and the use of personnel.