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Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Constitution: December 17, 1962.
Branches: Executive--Prince Rainier III (chief of state). Legislative--National Council (18 members). Judicial--Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal, High Court of Appeal, Criminal Court, Supreme Court.
Subdivisions: Four quarters (quartiers)--Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte-Carlo, Fontvieille.
Political parties: National and Democratic Union (UND), Campora List, Medecin List.
Suffrage: Universal adult at age 25.
Government of Monaco
Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Prince as chief of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State (head of government), who presides over a four-member Council of Government (cabinet). The Minister of State, who is a French citizen appointed by the Prince for a 3-year term from among several senior French civil servants proposed by the French Government, is responsible for foreign relations. As the Prince's representative, the Minister of State also directs the executive services, commands the police, and presides (with voting powers) over the Council of Government. The three other members of the Council are responsible for financial and economic affairs, internal affairs, and public works and social affairs, respectively.
Under the 1962 constitution, the Prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council. The 24 members of this legislative body are elected from lists by universal suffrage for 5-year terms. If the Prince dissolves the National Council, new elections must be held within 3 months. Usually meeting twice annually, the Council votes on the budget and endorses laws proposed by the Prince.
Ordinances passed by the National Council are debated in the Council of Government, as are the ministerial decrees signed by the Minister of State. Once approved, the ordinances must be submitted to the Prince within 80 days for his signature, which makes them legally enforceable. If he does not express opposition within 10 days of submission, they become valid.
Judicial power is invested in the Prince, who delegates judicial procedures to the various courts, which dispense justice in his name. The independence of the judges is guaranteed by the constitution. The Supreme Court is composed of five chief members and two assistant judges named by the Prince on the basis of nominations by the National Council and other government bodies. The Supreme Court is the highest court for judicial appeals and also interprets the constitution when necessary. Monaco's legal system, closely related to that of France, is patterned after the Napoleonic Code.
The principality's local affairs (i.e., the administration of the four quarters of Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo, and Fontvieille) are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of 15 elected members and is presided over by the Mayor.