Politics of San Marino

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Coat of arms of San Marino.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government 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 heads of government, 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 and is still in use today.

The Grand and General Council[edit]

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 majoritarian representation system in a sole national constituency. 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[edit]

The Captains Regent[edit]

The dual throne of the Captains Regent.

Every six months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The foundational theory was to create a balance of power or, at least, reciprocal control. 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[edit]

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 (Pasquale Valentini, since 5 December 2012) has assumed many of the prerogatives of a prime minister or head of government.

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in San Marino. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in San Marino.
e • d Summary of the 9 November 2008 Grand and General Council of San Marino election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Sammarinese Christian Democratic PartyEuro-Populars for San MarinoArengo and Freedom 6,693 31.90% 22
Popular Alliance 2,417 11.52% 7
Freedom List 1,317 6.28% 4
Sammarinese Union of Moderates 874 4.17% 2
Votes to the coalition 73 0.35%
Pact for San Marino 11,373 54.22% 35
Party of Socialists and DemocratsSammarinese for Freedom 6,703 31.96% 18
United Left 1,797 8.57% 5
Centre Democrats 1,037 4.94% 2
Votes to the coalition 65 0.31%
Reforms and Freedom 9,602 45.78% 25
Total valid votes (turnout: 68.48%) 20,975 60
Invalid/Blank votes 831
Total votes cast 21,806
Registered voters 31,845
Sources: Elezioni Politiche 2008 - Repubblica di San Marino (Italian)

San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic. The two main parties are the Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party (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.

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.

Judiciary[edit]

The Council of Twelve (Consiglio dei XII)[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Council of Europe, ECE, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, OPCW, OSCE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, UNWTO

See also[edit]


External links[edit]