Freedom in the World
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In March 2009, French president Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to resign as co-prince of Andorra if the principality did not improve its banking laws and increase transparency. The Andorran government proposed legislation in September that would ease bank-secrecy rules. The Social Democratic Party took power in the April parliamentary elections, defeating the incumbent Liberal Party of Andorra.
In the first half of the year, the Pintat government continued to implement banking reforms as required by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which led to Andorra’s removal from the OECD “gray list” in April 2009. The country has participated in the EU Savings Tax Directive since 2005, which provided a way to tax revenue from savings accounts held by EU citizens in a member state other than their country of residence or in certain non-EU countries.
In March 2009, French president Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to renounce his title as co-prince if Andorra did not increase the transparency of its banking system. The government proposed a law in September that lifts bank secrecy on information requested by other countries; the law was expected to be implemented in 2010.
Andorra is an electoral democracy. Popular elections to the 28-member Consell General, which selects the executive council president, or head of government, are held every four years. Half of the members are chosen in two-seat constituencies known as parishes, and the other half are chosen through a national system of proportional representation.
Women enjoy the same legal rights as men, and recently gained significant representation in government, taking 10 out of 28 seats in the April 2009 parliamentary elections.There are no specific laws addressing violence against women, which remains a problem. In 2009, there was a 40 percent increase in reports of physical abuse over the previous year. There are no government departments for women’s issues or government-run shelters for battered women. Abortion is illegal, except to save the life of the mother.