Costa Rica profile
President: Luis Guillermo Solis
Luis Guillermo Solis won the run-off presidential election in April 2014, ending the country's traditional two-party system.
By gaining 78% of the ballots cast, he became the first third-party candidate in more than half a century to win the top post.
His centrist Citizen Action Party (PAC) was founded 13 years previously to challenge an entrenched two-party system that saw the social democratic National Liberation Party (PLN) and the conservative Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) swap power between them.
Mr Solis gained a reputation as a researcher at FLACSO, a renowned Latin American social sciences institute, and as a programme director at the University of Costa Rica.
In the late 1980s he worked as chief of staff in Costa Ria's foreign ministry, where he worked on the design and promotion of the Central American peace plan for which former president Oscar Arias Sanchez won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize.
He later served as an ambassador.
Mr Solis was a member of the governing PLN party, and has held several cabinet posts in PLN administrations, before switching sides nine years previously.