Every 6 months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The Regents are chosen from opposing parties so they can keep an eye on each other. 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 Regents' activities. If they warrant it, judicial proceedings against the ex-head(s) of state can be initiated.
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, and Secretary of State for Finance, Budget and Programming, Information and Relations with the State Philatelic and Numismatic Office; Education, Culture, University and Justice; Territory, Environment and Agriculture; Health and Social Security; Trade and Relations with the Town Council; Communication, Transport, Relations with the Azienda Autonoma di Stato for Services, Tourism and Sport; Industry and Crafts; and Labour and Cooperation.
The Council of Twelve is elected by the Great and General Council for the duration of the Legislature and serves a jurisdictional body that also acts as a third instance Court of Appeals. Two government inspectors represent the State in financial and patrimonial questions.
The Legislative body consists of the Great and General Council, the parliament, and a unicameral Chamber. The members of parliament are usually elected every 5 years and they are in charge of legislation, justice, and the administration of jurisdiction. In addition, they are tasked with electing the Captains Regent, the State Congress, the Council of Twelve, the Advising Commission, and the Government Unions once the Council nominates them. Parliament also has the power to ratify contracts with other countries. The parliament is divided into five different Advising Commissions consisting of 15 councils which examine, propose, and discuss the implementation of new laws that are on there way to being submitted to the Great and General Council.
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 25 million lire. The Council of Twelve serves as an appeals court in the third instance.
San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic. The three main parties are the Democratic Christian Party of San Marino (PDCS), the Socialist Party of San Marino (PSS), and the Progressive Democratic Party of San Marino (PPDS) 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 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.
conventional long form: Republic of San Marino
conventional short form: San Marino
local long form: Repubblica di San Marino (RSM)
local short form: San Marino
Data code: SM
Government type: republic
Capital: San Marino
Administrative divisions: 9 municipalities (castelli, singular - castello); Acquaviva, Borgo Maggiore, Chiesanuova, Domagnano, Faetano, Fiorentino, Monte Giardino, San Marino, Serravalle
Independence: 301 (by tradition)
Constitution: 8 October 1600; electoral law of 1926 serves some of the functions of a constitution
Legal system: based on civil law system with Italian law influences; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
chief of state and head of government: Cochiefs of state Captain Regent Pier Marino Menicucci and Captain Regent Giovanni Giannoni (for the period 1 April 2003-30 September 2003). See also: List of Captain Regents of San Marino.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs Gabriele GATTI (since NA July 1986)
cabinet: Congress of State elected by the Great and General Council for a five-year term
elections: cochiefs of state (captain regents) elected by the Great and General Council for a six-month term; election last held March 2003 (next to be held NA September 2003); secretary of state for foreign and political affairs elected by the Great and General Council for a five-year term; election last held NA June 1998 (next to be held NA June 2003)
note: the popularly elected parliament (Grand and General Council) selects two of its members to serve as the Captains Regent (cochiefs of state) for a six-month period; they preside over meetings of the Grand and General Council and its cabinet (Congress of State) which has ten other members, all selected by the Grand and General Council; assisting the captains regent are three secretaries of state - Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Finance - and several additional secretaries; the secretary of state for Foreign Affairs has assumed many of the prerogatives of a prime minister
unicameral Grand and General Council or Consiglio Grande e Generale (60 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 31 May 1998 (next to be held by NA May 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party - PDCS 40.8%, PSS 23.3%, PPDS 18.6%, APDS 9.8%, RC 3.3%, SR 4.2%; seats by party - PDCS 25, PSS 14, PPDS 11, APDS 6, RC 2, SR 2
Judicial branch: Council of Twelve or Consiglio dei XII
Political parties and leaders: Communist Refoundation or RC [Giuseppe AMICHI]; Democratic Movement or MD [Emilio DELLA BALDA]; San Marino Christian Democratic Party or PDCS [Cesare Antonio GASPERONI, secretary general]; San Marino Popular Democratic Party or APDS [Antonella MULARONI]; San Marino Progressive Democratic Party or PPDS [Stefano MACINA, secretary general]; San Marino Socialist Party or PSS [Maurizio RATTINI, secretary general]; Socialists for Reform or SR [Renzo GIARDI]
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in San Marino; the US Consul General in Florence, Italy) is accredited to San Marino
Flag:see Flag of San Marino