Government and Politics

San Marino’s government operates in a parliamentary representative democratic republic structure.

The legislative branch of San Marino is composed of the two chiefs of state (also referred to as the State Representatives or Heads of the Executive) called Captains Regent; the head of government who is also the Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs and the ten-member Cabinet in the form of the Congress of State.

The legislative power is held by the 60-member Grand and General Council (also known as the Council Great and General). The Council-Political Committees who are elected by the Grand and General Council also supports the Grand and General Council in its functions.

San Marino’s main judicial arm is the Council of Twelve which functions as a third instance court or the highest court of appeals. In addition to this, three lower courts operate in subordinate to the Council of Twelve. They are, in descending order, the general courts of the court of first appeal or the second instance headed by the civil appeals judge, the trial court of the first instance headed by the law commissioners and the Justices of the Peace or the conciliatory judges.

San Marino was originally led by the Arengo, initially formed with the heads of each family. In the 13th century, power was given to the Great and General Council. In 1243, the first two Captains Regent were nominated by the Council. This method of nomination is still in use today. Every 6 months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. They are chosen every April 1 and October 1.

The practice of multiple heads of state, as well as the frequent re-election of the heads of state, are derived directly from the customs of the Roman Republic. The Council is equivalent to the Roman Senate; the Captains Regent, to the consuls of ancient Rome.

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