The Principality of Monaco is a constitutional monarchy where basic principles such as the separation of powers and fundamental freedom and rights are guaranteed.
The Principality was endowed with a Constitution for the first time on January 5, 1911, by Prince Albert Ist. It was replaced by the Constitution of December 17, 1962, presently in force, enacted by Prince Rainier III.
It establishes that the executive power concers the Prince’s High Authority, while the Government is exercised by the Minister of State, assisted by Government Counsellors.
The legislative and budgetary powers are exercized jointly by the Prince and the National Council.
The public and private rights established by the Constitution are applied without distinction and independent of nationality. They are: the right to individual freedom and safety, the legality of penalties, the abolition of the death penalty, the non-retroactivity of penal laws, the inviolability of domicile, respect of private and domestic life, secrecy of correspondence, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion, the inviolability of property, the right to work, the right to trade-union action, the right to strike, the right of association and the right to petition.
The Sovereign Prince
The Prince is the Head of State and thus ‘… represents the Principality in its relations with foreign powers.’ As such, he acts as guarantor for national independence, territorial integrity and respect of the treaties. The Prince signs and ratifies treaties.
The Sovereign, who before 1911 held all State powers, delegated or shared the exercize of some of them with the Constitutions of 1911 and 1962.
Executive power is given to the supreme au
thority of the reigning Prince. The Government is exercized by a Minister of State who represents the Prince and is assisted by a Government Council.
The Constitution grants a few particular prerogatives, customary to Heads of States, to the Sovereign: Right of grace and amnesty, right of naturalization, right to grant titles and distinctions.
The Constitution of 1962 states that the succession to the Throne passes to the direct and legitimate descendants of the reigning Prince under the principle of primogeniture, male descendants taking precedence over female descendants of the same degree of kin. In the absence of legitimate descendants, an adopted child may succeed to the Throne. The Prince, however, can only exercise his powers if he has reached his majority, set at the age of 18. During his minority or in case the Prince is not able to exercise his functions, the organization and conditions of exercise of the Regency are provided by the House Laws of the Sovereign Family.
The Government Council
A Minister of State and Government Counsellors are responsible towards the Prince for the administration of the Principality.
The Prince nominates the Minister of State and five Government Counsellors who are administrative heads of departments: one each for Finances and the Economy, the Interior, Public Works and Social Affairs, Facilities and Town Planning and External Relations.
The National Council
The National Council is a representative assembly with elections held every five years by a list system in a single ballot with the option to vote for candidates from different parties without preferential vote. Voters are Monégasque nationals, 18 or older.
It is sometimes qualified as a ‘high assembly’. Its powers, established by the Constitution, cover all legislative and budgetary questions of national interest, including voting of the national budget.
The National Council shares the legislative power with the Prince as the law depends on agreement between the two: the Prince has the right of initiative, the Assembly the right to vote the law, the Prince the right to sanction and promulgate it.
Legal power belongs to the Sovereign who delegates the full exercise of it to the courts and tribunals. The independence of the judges is guaranteed and the legal organization of the Principality includes all the degrees of jurisdiction: a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal, a Higher Court of Appeal and a Criminal Court (Assize Court). There are also tribunals with limited competence such as the Work Tribunal, the Rent Arbitration Commission and the Higher Arbitration Court (collective work disputes). At the summit of the legal organization the Supreme Court decides: – in constitutional affairs, on appeals for annulation with reference to any attack on the rights and freedoms granted by the Constitution, – in administrative affairs, on appeals for annulation in actions beyond the powers available in administrative decisions and sovereign ordinance made in application of the law, – in the event of a conflict of legal competence.
The Crown Council
This consists of seven members of Monégasque nationality, nominated by the Prince. The Sovereign designates the President and three members of the Council; the others are nominated by proposals of the National Council. The Council meets at least twice a year to decide questions concerning the higher interests of the State. It is mainly consulted on matters such as important international treaties, the dissolution of the National Council, requests for naturalization and problems of pardons and amnesties.
Its power is exclusively consultative.
Article 78 of the Constitution states that the territory of the Principality forms a single commune. The Communal Council has fifteen members elected for four years by direct universal suffrage and a system of proportional representation. The Mayor and his deputies are chosen by the Communal Council, which meets every three months for an ordinary session.
Specialized Organizations of U.N.
International Telecommunication Union (I.T..U.), World Health Organization (W.H.O.), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (U.N.E.S.C.O.), Universal Postal Union, International Atomic Energy Agency, World Intellectual Property Organization (W.I.P.O.), International Civil Aviation Organization (I.C.A.O.), International Maritime Organization (I.M.O.), Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (O.P.C.W.), World Meteorological Organization (W.M.O.), Preparatory Commission for the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban Treaty Organization (C.T.B.T.O.), World Tourism Organization (W.T.O.), Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (F.A.O.)
The Mediterranean Science Commission (C.I.E.S.M.), International Institute of Refrigeration (I.I.R.), International Union of Help, General Council for the Mediterranean Fisheries of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (F.A.O.), International Organization of Legal Metrology (O.I.M.L.), International Police Criminal Organization (INTERPOL), International Exhibitions Bureau (I.E.B.), International Oceanographic Commission (I.O.C.) of UNESCO, European Conference of Postal and Communications Administrations (C.E.P.T.), International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), International Hydrographic Organization (I.H.O.), Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation –(International Organization of the French-speaking Countries – O.I.F. 1998), The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (O.S.C.E.), Action plan for the Mediterranean, The Ramoge Agreement Commission, Latin Union, European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI), Intergovernmental Organisation for International carriage by Rail (O.T.I.F.), The World Conservation Union (U.I.C.N.), International Organization for Maritime Telecommunications by Satellites (I.M.O.), European Patent Office (E.P.O.), The International Whaling Commission, Hague Conference on Private International Law, ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Sea), European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation
International Navigation Association (PIANC-AIPCN); International Committee of Military Medicine (I.C.M.M.); International Diplomatic Academy; International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C.); European Travel Commission (E.T.C.); Inter-Parliamentary Union; International Institute of Administrative Sciences (I.I.A.S.); International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.); International Association of Plastic Arts (UNESCO); World Association of the Friends of Childhood (A.M.A.D.E. World); International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (I.U.G.G.); European Federation of Conference Towns (E.F.C.T.); International Institute of Theater (UNESCO); International Council for Science (I.C.S.U.); Parliamentary Assembly of the French Speaking Countries; Union of International Associations (U.I.A.); International Association of the Congress Centers (A.I.P.C.); UNESCO’s International Council of Music; International Association Against Violence in the Sports (A.I.C.V.S.); General Association of International Sports Federations (G.A.I.S.F.); Institute of the Economic Right of the Sea (INDEMER); The International Air Carrier Association (I.A.C.A.); World Energy Council (W.E.C.); European Civil Aviation Conference (E.C.A.C.); The Association for Cities Interested in Electric Vehicles (CITELEC); International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (I.U.C.N.); Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MEDCRUISE); Association of European Public Postal Operators (POST EUROP).