Browse the listing below to find government information for Andorra, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Andorra at its
Andorra Country Page.
Type: Parliamentary democracy that retains as its heads of state two Co-princes.
Constitution: Ratified in March 1993.
Branches: Head of State--two Co-princes (President of France, Bishop of Seu d'Urgell in Spain). Executive--head of government (Cap de Govern) and nine ministers. Legislative--Parliament (founded 1419) consisting of 28 members. Judicial--Civil cases heard in first instance by four judges (batlles) and in appeals by the one-judge Court of Appeals. The highest body is the five-member Superior Council of Justice. Criminal cases are heard by the Tribunal of Courts in Andorra la Vella.
Subdivisions: Seven parishes (parroquies)--Andorra la Vella, Canillo, Encamp, La Massana, Ordino, Sant Julia de Loria, and Escaldes make up the districts represented in the General Council.
Political parties/groups: Andorran Liberal Party (PLA), Andorran Democratic Center Party (ACDP, former Democratic Party, PD) and the Social Democratic Party (PS).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Until recently, Andorra's political system had no clear division of power among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. A Constitution ratified and approved in 1993 changed this, however. The Constitution establishes Andorra as a sovereign parliamentary democracy that retains the two Co-princes as its heads of state.
The fundamental impetus for this political transformation was a recommendation by the Council of Europe in 1990 that, if Andorra wished to attain full integration into the European Union (EU), it should adopt a modern Constitution that guarantees the rights of those living and working there.
Under the 1993 Constitution, the Co-princes continue as heads of state, but the head of government retains executive power. The two Co-princes serve equally with limited powers that do not include veto over government acts. They are represented in Andorra by a delegate. Each Co-prince, the President of France and the Bishop of Seu d'Urgell, maintain supreme authority in approval of all international treaties with France and Spain, as well as those dealing with internal security, defense, Andorran territory, diplomatic representation, and judicial or penal cooperation. Although some view the institution as an anachronism, the majority sees them as both a link with Andorra's traditions and a way to balance the power of Andorra's two much larger neighbors.
Andorra's main legislative body is the 28-member General Council (Parliament). The sindic (president), the subsindic, and the members of the Council are elected in the general elections held every 4 years. The Council meets throughout the year on certain dates set by tradition or as required. The most recent general elections took place in March 2001.
At least one representative from each parish must be present for the General Council to meet. Historically, within the General Council, four deputies from each of the seven individual parishes have provided representation. This system allowed the smaller parishes, that have as few as 562 voters, the same number of representatives as larger parishes, which have up to 4,000 voters. To readjust the imbalance this system caused, a provision in the new Constitution introduces a modification of the structure and format for electing the members of the Council; under this new format, half of the representatives are to be chosen by the traditional system, while the other half are selected from nationwide lists.
A sindic and a subsindic are chosen by the General Council to implement its decisions. They serve 4-year terms and may be reappointed once. They receive an annual salary. Sindics have virtually no discretionary powers, and all policy decisions must be approved by the Council as a whole. Every 4 years, after the general elections, the General Council elects the head of government who, in turn, chooses the other members of the Executive Council. The current council has 10 ministers.
The judicial system is independent. Courts apply the customary laws of Andorra, supplemented with Roman law and customary Catalan law. Civil cases are first heard by the batlles court--a group of four judges, two chosen by each Co-prince. Appeals are heard in the Court of Appeals. The highest body is the five-member Superior Council of Justice.
Andorra has no defense forces and only a small internal police force. All able-bodied men who own firearms must serve, without remuneration, in the small army, which is unique in that all of its men are treated as officers. The army has not fought for more than 700 years, and its main responsibility is to present the Andorran flag at official ceremonies.