Political Structure of San Marino

San Marino’s politics, militia and international relations

From the origins to our own day

How is San Marino organized politically and administratively?

The Great and General Council and the State Congress

Originally, all family heads came together to reach agreement on the administration of the Republic. This meeting was called the Arengo.
Over time, the Arengo gradually delegated its power to the Great and General Council, which still exercises legislative power today, always however leaving it to the Sammarinese citizens to submit proposals of public interest to the Council.

The latter consists of 60 members elected by the citizens every five years, and has the power  to:

  • approve budgets
  • appoint the Captains Regent who exercise their function for 6 months
  • appoint the State Congress

The State Congress exercises the executive power and it is, in effect, the Sammarinese government. Originally it only played a consultative role but since 1945 it has been the only body with executive, administrative and political power.
The State Congress consists of a maximum number of ten Secretaries of State, each of whom is entrusted with one or more areas of administrative responsibility.

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The territory of San Marino is divided into nine Castelli (Municipalities) that correspond to the old parish districts of the Republic. Even today, each municipality is administered by a council headed by a Captain elected every five years.

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How is San Marino’s military system organized?

Militias and Police

Although the Republic of San Marino is known for its vocation for peace, it has Military Corps, some volunteers, which represent the independence of the State. Let's see what they are.

  • The Uniformed Company of the Militia that takes part in official ceremonies and collaborates on guard duty in particular contingencies. The members of the Military Band are also part of it.
  • The Guard of the Great and General Council, also known as the Noble Guard, is a special guard corps of the Captains Regent and of the Great and General Council that takes part in official ceremonies and collaborates on guard duty in special circumstances, especially institutional ones.
  • The Fortress Guard, which is equipped with artillery and serves at the Public Palace and in the border barracks.
  • The Gendarmerie is the police force that has the task of keeping order in the country.
  • The Local Police Force has the task of control, protection and prevention over matters  of commerce, tourism, food procurement and road traffic.
  • The National Central Bureau - Interpol, which has the task of encouraging cooperation between the Sammarinese Police Forces and those of other member states.
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In the small Republic there is no compulsory military service but all citizens aged 16 to 55 can be enlisted, if necessary and in particular circumstances, to defend the State.

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What kind of international relations does San Marino enjoy?

Given its particular geographical position, the Ancient Land of Liberty has always maintained excellent relations with the Italian Republic and maintains diplomatic and consular relations with over seventy European and non-European nations.
San Marino is also a member of numerous international organizations, including

  • the United Nations Organization
  • the Council of Europe
  • the International Monetary Fund
  • the International Court of Justice
  • the World Health Organization
  • the World Tourism Organization

Other collaborations and official relations

It collaborates with Unicef.
It collaborates with the High Commissioner for Refugees.
It enjoys official relations with the European Union.
It takes part in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
From 10 May to 6 November 1990 and from 15 November 2006 to 11 May
2007 San Marino held the six-monthly chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

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