Politics of San Marino

Politics of San Marino takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Captains Regent are the heads of state, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Grand and General Council. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

San Marino was originally led by the Arengo, initially formed with the heads of each family. In the 13th century, power was given to the Great and General Council. In 1243, the first two Captains Regent were nominated by the Council. This method of nomination is still in use today, as of 2007.

The Grand and General Council

The legislature of the republic is the Grand and General Council ("Consiglio grande e generale"). The Council is a unicameral legislature which has 60 members with elections occurring every 5 years under a proportional representation system in all nine administrative districts. These districts (townships) correspond to the old parishes of the republic. Citizens eighteen years or older are eligible to vote. Besides general legislation, the Grand and General Council approves the budget and elects the Captains Regent, the State Congress, the Council of Twelve, the Advising Commissions, and the Government Unions. The Council also has the power to ratify treaties with other countries. The Council is divided into five different Advising Commissions consisting of 15 councilors which examine, propose, and discuss the implementation of new laws that are on their way to being presented on the floor of the Council.

The Government

The Captains Regent

Every six months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The Regents are chosen from opposing parties so there is a balance of power. They serve a 6-month term. The investiture of the Captains Regent takes place on April 1 and October 1 in every year. Once this term is over, citizens have 3 days in which to file complaints about the Captains' activities. If they warrant it, judicial proceedings against the ex-head(s) of state can be initiated.

The practice of dual heads of state, as well as the frequent re-election of same, are derived directly from the customs of the Roman Republic. The Council is equivalent to the Roman Senate; the Captains Regent, to the consuls of ancient Rome.

The State Congress

The State Congress, composed of 10 Secretaries, wields executive power. The 10 Secretaries are:
* Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs
* Secretary of State for Internal Affairs and Civil Defense,
* Secretary of State for Finance, Budget and Programming, Information and Relations with the State Philatelic and Numismatic Office
* Secretary of State for Education, Culture, University and Justice
* Secretary of State for Territory, Environment and Agriculture
* Secretary of State for Health and Social Security
* Secretary of State for Trade and Relations with the Town Council
* Secretary of State for Communication, Transport, Relations with the Azienda Autonoma di Stato for Services, Tourism and Sport
* Secretary of State for Industry and Crafts
* Secretary of State for Labour and Cooperation.The secretary of state for Foreign and Political Affairs (Fabio Berardi, since 15 December 2003) has assumed many of the prerogatives of a prime minister or head of government.

Political parties and elections

San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic. The two main parties are the Democratic Christian Party of San Marino (PDCS) and the Party of Socialists and Democrats (PSD, a merger of the Socialist Party of San Marino and the Party of Democrats) in addition to several other smaller parties. Due to the small size of San Marino and its low population, it is difficult for any party to gain a pure majority and most of the time the government is run by a coalition. As a result of the June 2001 election, the PDCS and PSS control a majority of seats in the Council.

Because tourism accounts for more than 50% of the economic sector, the government relies not only on taxes and customs for revenue, but also the sale of coins and postage stamps to collectors throughout the world. In addition, the Italian Government pays San Marino an annual budget subsidy provided under the terms of the Basic Treaty with Italy.


The Council of Twelve ("Consiglio dei XII")

The Council of Twelve serves as the supreme tribunal of the republic. The Grand and General Council elects the Council of Twelve, whose members remain in office until the next general election. The Council of Twelve has appellate jurisdiction in the third instance. Two government inspectors represent the State in financial and patrimonial questions.

Judicial organization

The judicial system of San Marino is entrusted to foreign executives, both for historical and social reasons. The only native judges are the Justices of the Peace, who only handle civil cases where sums involved do not exceed 15,000 .

One of the earliest abolitionist countries

San Marino carried out the last execution in its history in 1468 (by hanging). The death penalty was abolished for murder on March 12, 1848, and for other crimes two years later.

Current issues

The main issues confronting the current government include economic and administrative problems related to San Marino's status as a close financial and trading partner with Italy while at the same time remaining separated from the European Union (EU). The other priority issue will be to increase the transparency and efficiency in parliament and in relations among parliament, cabinet, and the Captains Regent.

International organization participation


ee also

*Constitution of San Marino

External links

* [http://www.consigliograndeegenerale.sm/ Official Website of the Grand General Council]
* [http://www.elezioni.sm/ Official Elections Website]
* [http://www.interni.segreteria.sm/ Official Website of the State Secretarship for Internal Affairs]

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