Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Andorra held its general elections, in which Marc Forne Molne of the Liberal Party of Andorra (PLA) was reelected as the head of government, in March 2001. In the 1997 elections, the PLA held 18 of the 28 Consell General (parliament) seats. In the recent elections, the PLA acquired only 15 seats; the Social Democratic Party (PS), 6; the Democratic Party, 5; and the Unio Laurediana Party, 2.
For more than 700 years, Andorra was ruled jointly by the French state and the Spanish bishops of Seo de Urgel, until it acquired independence and adopted its first constitution in 1993. The constitution defines Andorra as a "parliamentary co-principality" in which the president of France and the bishop of Seo de Urgel serve as co-princes, heads of state with limited and largely symbolic power. Sovereignty rests with Andorra's citizens.
Andorra has no national currency, but circulates Spanish pesetas and French francs. By virtue of its association with Spain and France, it has also adopted the euro despite not being a member of the European Monetary Union. In 1991, Andorra established a customs union with the European Union (EU) that permits free movement of industrial goods. Andorra became a member of the United Nations in 1993 and a member of the Council of Europe in 1994.
With the creation of the EU internal market, Andorra has lost its privileged duty-free status. Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's economy, accounts for about 80 percent of its gross domestic product. Because of banking secrecy laws and Andorra's tax haven status, the financial services sector is of growing importance to the economy.
Andorrans can change their government democratically. The recent elections chose members of the Consell General, which selects the head of government. Popular elections to the 28-member Consell are held every four years, with 14 members chosen by the national constituency and 14 chosen to represent the seven parishes, or administrative divisions. The judiciary, based on the French and Spanish civil codes, is independent and efficient, and citizens enjoy full due process rights, including the right to free counsel for the indigent. Freedom of speech and the press is guaranteed in law and in practice. The domestic press consists of two daily and several weekly newspapers. Andorra has two radio stations, one state owned and one privately owned, and six television stations. Most French and Spanish stations can be received in Andorra.
There are no limitations on domestic or foreign travel, emigration, or repatriation. Andorra does not expel persons with valid claims of refugee status and cooperates with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees.
Freedom of religion is respected. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion; however, the Church does not receive any subsidies from the government.
Workers may form trade unions, bargain collectively, and strike. According to the January report of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), the only unions that exist are illegal. Only the police union, which is more like an association than a trade union, has been registered. No unions have been created by workers in the private sector.
Women enjoy the same legal, political, social, and professional rights as men, although they are underrepresented in government. Of the 28 members of the Consell General, only 4 are women. The Association of Andorran Women actively promotes women's issues through education and outreach.