The heads of State: the
The Andorran Constitution establishes in article 43 that the co-princes are jointly and indivisibly the heads of State and its highest representation.
The co-princes are, personally and exclusively, the bishop
of Urgell, currently Joan Enric Vives Sicília, and the president of the French Republic, currently Nicolas Sarkozy. The most remarkable feature of the Andorran system is precisely this, that there
are two heads of State, a feature that has come down to us from the Pariatges and is the result of the singular historical development of Andorra. The co-princes preside over and moderate the
public powers and exercise their functions with the counter-signature of the head of Government or the speaker.
Among other things, they call the general elections, give accreditation to diplomatic representatives, sanction and promulgate the laws, and give consent for the State to bind itself by means of international treaties, in the conditions fixed by the Constitution. The “Consell General” (legislative organ)
The forerunner of the General Council was the Land Council, created in 1419, in which representatives from all the parishes (administrative and territorial divisions) met twice a year. The General Council represents the Andorran people, exercises the legislative function, approves the State budgets and promotes and controls the Government’s political actions. The members are elected by universal suffrage, free, equal, direct and secret, for a term of four years. The General Council is composed of general councilors, between twenty-eight and forty-two, half of whom are elected in equal numbers for each of the seven parishes and the other half are elected by national ballot.
The Speaker’s Office or “Sindicatura” is the organ controlling the General Council. The speaker and deputy speaker may not hold their posts for more than two consecutive mandates. The General Council meets in traditional sessions, ordinary and extraordinary, and functions in plenary form and through committees.
For the General Council to adopt resolutions validly, it must be in session with the attendance of at least half the councillors. The legislative initiative corresponds to the General Council and to the Government. Three Communes jointly or a tenth of the national electoral census can present propositions for law to the General Council. As soon as the General Council approves a law, the speaker advises the co-princes so that, between the eighth and fifteenth day following, they may sanction it, promulgate it and order its publication in the Official Journal of the Principality of Andorra.
The Government directs the national and international policies of Andorra. It also directs the administration of the State and exercises the power of regulation. The Government of Andorra is made up of the head of Government and the following.
The Government elabora el presupuesto general y lo somete a la votación del Consejo General.
The comuns (communes)
Andorra is divided for administrative and territorial purposes into seven parishes: Canillo, Encamp, Ordino, la Massana, Andorra la Vella, Sant Julià de Lòria and Escaldes-Engordany.
The communes represent and administrate the interests of the parishes, approve and execute the commune budget, fix and carry out the public policies and manage and administrate all the assets in commune ownership. They have their own resources and receive transfers of capital from the general State budget, for the purpose of guaranteeing financial autonomy.