Monday, April 2, 2007

Welcome to the Serene Republic of San Marino


April 1st is April Fool's Day, but it's also the day the tiny European republic of San Marino gets a new head of state. Or two. San Marino is one of the only countries in the world where two people serve as joint head of state.

The new guys are both named Alessandro. There is Alessandro Mancini and Alessandro Rossi. They hold the title of "Captains Regent" of the republic.

The San Mario constitution works like this: there is a 60-member parliament, and twice a year it elects two Captains; two for April to October, and two for October to April. To ensure political equity the Captains have to be from two different political parties.

Mr. Mancini is from the United Left party while Mr. Rossi is from the Party of Socialists and Democrats. San Marino is a very left-wing country. Until the 1960's the Communists were the largest party in parliament, and their influence lives on to this day. Mr. Mancini's party was actually founded by hardline Communist dissidents who jumped ship after the official Communist Party reformed itself into the more moderate "Progressive Democratic Party" in 1990.

The Captains are just symbolic figureheads, though. The real leader of government is the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the leader of the 10-member cabinet. Currently, that's Fiorenzo Stolfi.

I would say San Marino is a bit over-governed considering it has only about 24,000 people, which is less than most college football stadiums are designed to accommodate. Next time you are at some sporting event imagine if the audience was divided into nine city councils, 11 political parties, a 60-person parliament, and countless bureaucratic offices. And imagine they're all living in a country the size of an airport. That's pretty much San Marino.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree it seems overgoverned. Heck, with 20,000 some people, they just need a mayor.

Eric Stimson said...

They probably feel like they need all that government to assert their power and independence.

Anonymous said...

Good point. It probably has an army with a tank platoon and a merchant marine in some Italian port.

Z said...

You said that Iran's people are "held hostage"?

Are you shillin for another war? I remember your brainless optimism as Iraq's people were murdered under this war.

White Man's Burden yet again?

The Zamorin of Bombay said...

Pretty Interesting......

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