Freedom in the World - San Marino (2004)
|Publication Date||18 December 2003|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom in the World - San Marino (2004), 18 December 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/473c54bd23.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Political Rights: 1
Civil Liberties: 1
Life Expectancy: 81
Religious Groups: Roman Catholic
Ethnic Groups: Sanmarinese, Italian
Capital: San Marino
After having been in place for only six months, San Marino's governing coalition entered into a crisis during the summer of 2003 that would last into the fall due to infighting among the two coalition member parties.
Founded in A.D. 301, San Marino is the world's oldest and second smallest republic, after Vatican City. Although the Sammarinesi are ethnically and culturally Italian, they have succeeded in maintaining their independence against great odds since the fourth century. The papacy recognized San Marino's independence in 1631, as did the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. In 1862, San Marino signed a customs union and treaty with Italy, beginning a long period of friendship with the country that surrounds it. Despite its dependence on Italy, from which it currently receives budget subsidies, San Marino maintains its own political institutions. It became a member of the Council of Europe in 1988 and the United Nations in 1992.
Early elections were called in June 2001, leading to the return of a coalition of the Christian Democrats (PDCS) and the Socialist Party (PSS). The PDCS won 25 seats, the PSS 15, the Democratic Party (PPDS) 12, the Popular Party (APDS) 5, the Communist Party (RC) 2, and the National Alliance (AN) 1. In October, Giovanni Lonfernini (PCDS) and Valeria Ciavatta (Popular Alliance of Democrats) were installed as captains-regent – joint heads of state – positions that are elected every six months by parliament.
The latest government crisis came about in 2003 after infighting broke out between the ruling PDCS and Socialists.
On the international front, the foreign minister traveled to Russia in October to mark 10 years since the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In April, San Marino ratified Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention of the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which prohibits discrimination on any grounds by any public authority.
Political Rights and Civil Liberties
The Sammarinesi can change their government democratically. The 60 members of the Great and General Council (a unicameral parliament) are elected every five years by proportional representation. The executive power of the country rests with a 10-member Congress of State (cabinet), which is headed by the two captains-regent elected every April 1 and October 1. Although there is no official prime minister, the secretary of state for foreign affairs has assumed some of the position's prerogatives.
Freely elected representatives determine the policies of the government in San Marino, where there are few problems with corruption. Although San Marino is an offshore jurisdiction, the country has made commitments to cooperate with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to address harmful tax practices. San Marino has never been blacklisted by the OECD or sanctioned by the EU for its tax practices as an international banking center. Although companies and individuals do pay taxes in the country, the tax rates – about 12 percent for individuals and 24 percent for corporations – are much lower than in the rest of Europe and Canada.
Freedom of speech and of the press are guaranteed in San Marino. There are daily newspapers, a state-run broadcast system for radio and television called RTV, and a private FM station, Radio Titiano. The Sammarinesi have access to all Italian print media and certain Italian broadcast stations. San Marino was one of only 12 of the 55 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member states that had no press freedom violations recorded in 1999-2000.
The law prohibits religious discrimination. Roman Catholicism is the dominant, but not the state, religion. People can request a donation of 0.3 percent of their income through their taxes to be allocated to the Catholic Church, the Waldesian Church, or the Jehovah's Witnesses. Academic freedom is respected.
People are free to assemble, demonstrate, and conduct open public discussions. Workers are free to organize into trade unions and bargain collectively with employers. They are also free to strike, if they do not work in military occupations. Approximately half of the country's workforce is unionized.
The judiciary in San Marino is independent. Lower court judges are required to be noncitizens – generally Italians – to assure impartiality. The final court of review is San Marino's Council of Twelve, a group of judges chosen for six-year terms from among the members of the Grand and General Council. The country's prison system generally met international standards and civilian authorities maintained effective control over the police and security forces.
The population is generally treated equally under the law, although the European Commission against Racism (ECRI) has raised some concerns about the status of foreigners in the country. Most of the foreign-born population are Italians; only about 2 percent – mostly women from Central and Eastern Europe who work as private nurses for the elderly and ill – come from outside the EU. San Marino has no formal asylum policy, and a foreigner has to live in the country for 30 years to be eligible for citizenship. The European Convention on Nationality recommends that the period of residence before a foreigner can apply for citizenship should not exceed 10 years. In 2001, San Marino ratified the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Women are given legal protections from violence and spousal abuse, and gender equality exists in the workplace and elsewhere. There are, however, slight differences in the way men and women can transmit citizenship to their children.