What is Andorra's political system?

What is Andorra's political system?


Andorra has a unique political system characterized by a "co-principality" arrangement. This means that the Principality of Andorra is governed by two co-princes: the current President of France and the Bishop of Urgell, who represents the Catholic Church.

This co-principality system has its roots in an 1278 agreement between the Count of Foix and the Bishop of Urgell, and it has evolved over the centuries into Andorra's present form of government. You can see the original document here. It is called the "Primer pariatge de Andorra" (First pariage of Andorra) and is signed by Pere de Urtx, bishop of La Seu d'Urgell (also seen as Seo de Urgel), and Roger Bernat III, count of Foix and viscount of Castellbò, on September 8, 1278.


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The agreement between the Count of Foix and the Bishop of Urgell in 1278, known as the "Pariatge," was made to resolve a territorial dispute between the two parties regarding the governance of the region that is now modern-day Andorra.

At the time, the Count of Foix, Roger-Bernard III, and the Bishop of Urgell, Pere d'Urtx, both claimed authority over Andorra, leading to a potential source of conflict.

The Pariatge, which means "pariage" or "partnership" in Catalan, established a co-sovereignty arrangement, where the Count of Foix and the Bishop of Urgell agreed to rule Andorra jointly.

This unique political arrangement allowed for shared authority over the territory of Andorra and helped to prevent conflicts between the secular and ecclesiastical powers.

It also served to preserve the independence and autonomy of Andorra. The Pariatge of 1278 laid the foundation for Andorra's distinctive co-principality system, - a diarchy - which continues to be a defining characteristic of the country's political structure to this day. 

A diarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in two separate individuals or entities who jointly rule a state or territory. This can take various forms, but it typically involves a dual leadership structure where two individuals, such as monarchs, leaders, or co-presidents, share equal authority and responsibility.

Since 1993, the co-princes act as ceremonial heads of state, while Andorra's day-to-day governance is overseen by a parliamentary democracy. Andorra's political system combines elements of both traditional monarchy and modern representative democracy, and it offers a delicate balance between secular and religious leadership.

The parliamentary aspect of Andorra's government is vested in the General Council of the Valleys. This unicameral body consists of 28 members who are elected through a mixed-member proportional representation system.

The General Council is responsible for legislating and administering the country's affairs. The head of government is the Chief Executive Officer of Andorra, who is appointed by the General Council from among its members.

This political structure ensures that the co-princes retain their symbolic roles while the country is effectively governed by elected representatives.

Additionally, Andorra has made efforts to modernize its political system in recent years by granting greater autonomy to its local governments and implementing various reforms to enhance the transparency and efficiency of its government institutions.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 February 2024 19:25