Freedom in the World
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Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
In 2009, San Marino found itself embroiled in scandals, including a money laundering scheme that led to the arrests of five heads of the nation’s top bank. However, in September San Marino was removed from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s “gray list” of tax havens.
San Marino is an electoral democracy. The 60 members of the Great and General Council, the unicameral legislature, are elected every five years by proportional representation. Executive power rests with the 10-member Congress of State (cabinet), which is headed by two captains-regent selected every spring and fall by the Great and General Council from among its own members. The captains-regent serve as joint heads of state for a six-month period. Although there is no official prime minister, the secretary of state for foreign and political affairs is regarded as the head of government; Fiorenzo Stolfi was elected to the post in July 2006. As the result of a 2008 electoral law, the winning coalition must have captured a majority of 50 percent plus 1, as well as at least 30 of the 60 parliamentary seats. New rules were also implemented to make it easier for Sammarinese living abroad to vote in elections.
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. The country has restrictive laws regarding abortion, which is permitted only to save the life of the mother. Under the new 2008 electoral law, no more than two-thirds of candidates from each partycan be of the same gender in an attempt to promote women’s representation in government. Nine women were elected to the Great and General Council in 2008 and two to the Congress of State. In January 2009, an Authority of Equal Opportunities was established to curb gender-based violence.