Andorra

Free
96
100
PR Political Rights 39 40
CL Civil Liberties 57 60
Last Year's Score & Status
95 100 Free
Global freedom statuses are calculated on a weighted scale. See the methodology.

header1 Overview

Andorra has a parliamentary system of government and regularly holds free and fair elections, though more than 50 percent of the population consists of noncitizens who do not have the right to vote. Political rights and civil liberties are generally respected and safeguarded. However, domestic violence is a problem, and the country is not fully compliant with international standards on accessibility for disabled people. The small Muslim and Jewish communities lack dedicated cemeteries, and the country has no recognized mosque.

header2 Key Developments in 2017

  • In June, the government approved a draft law that would protect the rights of people with disabilities and provide assistance to victims of racism or discrimination.
  • In July, the government passed a law to criminalize tax evasion, which will enter into effect in 2018.

PR Political Rights

A Electoral Process

A1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Was the current head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections? 4.004 4.004

Andorra has a parliamentary system, with a prime minister elected by and accountable to the parliament. The prime minister is usually the head of the largest party in the parliament, and their legitimacy rests largely on the conduct of parliamentary elections, which have historically been competitive and credible. Antoni Martí, head of the Democrats for Andorra (DA), was reelected as prime minister following that party’s victory in the 2015 legislative elections.

Two unelected “co-princes,” the French president and the bishop of La Seu d’Urgell, Spain, serve jointly as ceremonial heads of state.

A2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Were the current national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections? 4.004 4.004

Popular elections are held every four years for the 28-member Consell General. The most recent elections occurred in March 2015. The DA won 15 seats, followed by the Liberal Party of Andorra (PLA) with 8, an independent coalition with 3, and the Social Democracy and Progress party (SDP) with 2. International observers deemed the polls competitive, credible, and generally well administered.

A3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are the electoral laws and framework fair, and are they implemented impartially by the relevant election management bodies? 4.004 4.004

The Electoral Law, which was last changed in 2014 to introduce regulations on campaign finance, provides a sound framework for free and fair elections. The Electoral Board supervises elections impartially.

B Political Pluralism and Participation

B1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings? 4.004 4.004

Political parties may form and operate freely, and there are a number of active parties in Andorra.

B2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections? 4.004 4.004

There are no restrictions preventing the opposition from increasing its support through elections. Multiple opposition parties are currently represented in the Consell General.

B3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are the people’s political choices free from domination by forces that are external to the political sphere, or by political forces that employ extrapolitical means? 4.004 4.004

There are no powerful groups without democratic legitimacy that influence or limit the people’s political choices.

B4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do various segments of the population (including ethnic, religious, gender, LGBT, and other relevant groups) have full political rights and electoral opportunities? 3.003 4.004

More than 50 percent of the population consists of noncitizens who do not have the right to vote. Under Andorra’s restrictive naturalization criteria, one must marry a resident Andorran or live in the country for more than 20 years to qualify for citizenship. Prospective citizens are also required to learn Catalan, the national language.

Women are active in politics, and hold 36 percent of seats in the legislature.

C Functioning of Government

C1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government? 4.004 4.004

The elected government and parliament exercise their powers without undue restraints from nonelected or nonstate actors, and freely determine the policies of the government.

C2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective? 4.004 4.004

Government corruption is not viewed as a pressing issue in Andorra. Significant progress was made to address concerns raised in a 2011 report by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) about Andorra’s laws concerning bribery and campaign finance. In a 2017 progress report, GRECO notes that eighteen of the twenty recommendations have now been satisfactorily implemented.

Andorra continued to make efforts to address longstanding concerns about abuse of its banking system in 2017. In July, the government approved a law to outlaw tax evasion, making this practice punishable by prison sentences of between three months and three years. The new law will enter into force in January 2018, together with a law renouncing banking secrecy, which was passed in December 2016.

C3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does the government operate with openness and transparency? 4.004 4.004

No law exists to provide public access to government information. However, the government weekly publishes its main actions in a bulletin, which is accessible online or by e-mail.

CL Civil Liberties

D Freedom of Expression and Belief

D1. Are there free and independent media? 3 / 4

There a number of daily and weekly newspapers, and one Andorran television station, operated by the public broadcaster Ràdio i Televisió d’Andorra. Business, political, and religious interests heavily influence media coverage. Reporting on the activities of Andorra’s banks is particularly difficult.

D2. Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private? 4 / 4

Freedom of religion is generally respected, but the Catholic Church enjoys a privileged position that allows it to draw on some state support, and to bypass some bureaucratic processes that other faiths must adhere to.

Despite years of negotiations between the Muslim community and the government, there is no proper mosque for the country’s roughly 1,300 Muslims. The government has organized meetings with Jewish and Muslim communities to talk about the possible construction of a special cemetery where these groups may engage in burials according to their customs and beliefs, but progress toward establishing one has stalled.

D3. Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination? 4 / 4

There are no restrictions on academic freedom, and the educational system is free from indoctrination.

D4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance or retribution? 4.004 4.004

Freedom of speech is respected across the country, and there are no restrictions on internet access or online communications.

E Associational and Organizational Rights

E1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom of assembly? 4.004 4.004

Andorran law provides for freedom of assembly, and the government respects this right in practice.

E2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work? 4.004 4.004

Various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are active in the country, and can function without restrictions. The groups were able to publish their findings on human rights cases, and experienced cooperation from the government.

E3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom for trade unions and similar professional or labor organizations? 3.003 4.004

While the government recognizes that both workers and employers have the right to defend their interests, the right to strike is not legally guaranteed. There are also no laws in place to penalize antiunion discrimination or regulate collective bargaining, although a 2009 law guarantees unions the right to operate.

F Rule of Law

F1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there an independent judiciary? 4.004 4.004

The judiciary is impartial and independent, and the government generally respects the independence of the judiciary.

F2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does due process prevail in civil and criminal matters? 4.004 4.004

Defendants enjoy the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial, and due process is generally upheld in the criminal justice system. The constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, but police can detain suspects for up to 48 hours without charge

F3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there protection from the illegitimate use of physical force and freedom from war and insurgencies? 4.004 4.004

Andorra is free from war and insurgencies, and law enforcement agents are not known to use excessive force against civilians.

F4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population? 3.003 4.004

Same-sex marriage is legal in Andorra, and discrimination against women is illegal. In June 2017, the government approved a draft law that would protect the rights of people with disabilities and provide assistance to victims of racism or discrimination. However, the country is not fully compliant with international standards on accessibility for disabled people and ensuring their entry into the workforce. The law does not require equal pay for equal work, and the Department of Statistics has estimated that women earned 24 percent less than men for comparable work.

G Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights

G1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy freedom of movement, including the ability to change their place of residence, employment, or education? 4.004 4.004

There are no restrictions on the freedom of movement, and people are generally free to choose their place of employment, residence, and education.

G2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals able to exercise the right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or nonstate actors? 4.004 4.004

Citizens enjoy the right to own property. Legislation passed in 2012 fully opened up the economy to foreign investors as well, allowing noncitizens to own up to 100 percent of any commercial entity.

Score Change: The score improved from 3 to 4 due to efforts to eliminate restrictions on individuals’ rights to own a business or property.

G3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy personal social freedoms, including choice of marriage partner and size of family, protection from domestic violence, and control over appearance? 4.004 4.004

Domestic violence and sexual exploitation are prohibited by law and are punishable with prison sentences. The government pursues domestic violence cases and provides resources for victims. Nevertheless, domestic violence remains a problem, and sometimes involves violence against children.

G4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation? 4.004 4.004

Andorran laws provide protections for most workers, including migrant workers. However, temporary workers are in a precarious position, as they must leave the country when their employment contract expires, leaving them vulnerable to potential abuse by employers. The Labour Inspections Office successfully addresses cases of violations of workers’ rights.

There have been no confirmed reports of human trafficking occurring in Andorra in the past year.

On Andorra

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  • Global Freedom Score

    94 100 free