Until 1910, the Principality of Monaco lived under a regime of absolute monarchy. In 1911, Prince Albert I promulgated the first Constitution ; this was modified in 1917, confirmed in 1933 by Prince Louis II and reformed in a liberal spirit by H.S.H. Prince Rainier III on 17th December 1962.
In the first chapter of this Constitution, it is laid down that the executive power is responsible to the supreme authority of the reigning Prince. The Constitution of 1962 also states that the succession to the Throne passes to the direct and legitimate descendants of the reigning Prince under the principle of primogeniture, male descendants taking precedence over female descendants of the same degree of kin. In the absence of legitimate descendants, an adopted child may succeed to the Throne. The Prince, however, can only exercise his powers if he has reached his majority, fixed at the age of 21. During his minority, power is exercised by a regency.
The Sovereign represents Monaco in its relations with foreign powers ; he signs and ratifies treaties.
THE COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENT
Government is exercised under the supreme authority of the Prince by a Minister of State, assisted by a Council of Government. The Prince nominates the Minister of State and three Government Councilors, one each for Finances and the Economy, the Interior, and Public Works and Social Affairs. The Minister of State and the Government Councilors are answerable for their actions to the Prince.
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THE NATIONAL COUNCIL
This consists of 18 members elected for five years by direct universal suffrage and a system of proportional representation. Electors are citizens of both sexes over 21 years of age and in possession of Monégasque nationality for more than five years. Candidates must be Monégasques of either sex and aged over 25. Legislative power is exercised jointly by the Prince and the National Council. This Assembly, which also votes the budget, meets each year for two ordinary sessions but may, however, be summoned for an extraordinary session by the Prince or at the request of two thirds of its members if circumstances so require. The sessions of the National Council are public and the report of the debates is published in the “Journal de Monaco”, the official gazette of the Principality.
Legal power belongs to the Sovereign who delegates the full exercise of it to the courts and tribunals. The independence of the judges is guaranteed and the legal organization of the Principality includes all the degrees of jurisdiction : a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal, a Higher Court of Appeal and a Criminal Court (Assize Court).
There are also tribunals with limited competence such as the Work Tribunal, the Rent Arbitration Commission and the Higher Arbitration Court (collective work disputes).
At the summit of the legal organization the Supreme Court decides :
– in constitutional affairs, on appeals for annulation with reference to any attack on the rights and freedoms granted by the Constitution,
– in administrative affairs, on appeals for annulation in actions beyond the powers available in administrative decisions and sovereign ordinance made in application of the law,
– in the event of a conflict of legal competence.
THE COUNCIL OF THE CROWN
This consists of seven members having Monégasque nationality, nominated by the Prince. The President and three members of the Council are designated by the Sovereign ; the others are nominated by proposals of the National Council.
The Council meets at least twice a year to decide questions concerning the higher interests of the State. It is compulsorily consulted on matters such as important international treaties, the dissolution of the National Council, requests for naturalization and problems of pardons and amnesties.
Article 78 of the Constitution lays down that the territory of the Principality forms a single commune.
The Communal Council has fifteen members elected for four years by direct universal suffrage and a system of proportional representation. The Mayor and his deputies are chosen by the Communal Council meets every three months for an ordinary session.
The French franc. Monégasque coins having the same value as French coins are also in circulation.
Freedom from direct taxation for all residents except French citizens moving to the Principality after 1957.
Since the Sovereign Ordinance of 8th February 1869 abolishing the land tax, the personal and goods taxes and the business tax, the fiscal policy of the Principality has been marked by the absence of direct personal taxation. Physical persons of Monégasque or foreign nationality residing in the Principality are therefore not subject in the Principality to any tax on their personal income, whatever its origin.
But it must be added that the Franco-Monégasque Fiscal Convention of 18th May 1963 laid down that physical persons of French nationality, who move their domicile or habitual residence to Monaco – or who cannot prove five years residence in Monaco before 13th October 1962 – are subject in France to French taxes under the same conditions as if the said physical persons had their domicile or residence in France.
1 – Taxes on profits
Since 1st January 1963, companies of any type whatsoever pay a tax on profits when their turnover comes from operations at the rate of at least 25 % outside Monégasque territory.
Rate of tax : 33,33% since 1st January 1993.
2 – Tax on turnover
* added value tax (5,5 %, 20.6 %)
* real estate added value tax (20.6 %)
* special arrangements concerning banking and financial activities
* 2 important ordinances : n° 6528 of 19th April 1979 and n° 6550 of 28th May 1979
3 – Registration fees
On transfers or deeds arising from legal expenses
4 – Stamp duty
indirect taxes (drinks, guarantee fees, axle tax).
Education is compulsory for all children from 6 to 16. Syllabuses are identical with those in France. They include in addition the study of the history of Monaco, the institutions of the Principality and the Monégasque language (an optional subject in the baccalauréat examinations).
Primary education is provided in four establishments. Secondary education is split between the Lycée Albert I (Diploma in Secretarial Studies and Accounting), the Technical Lycée of Monte Carlo (hotellery, commerce, specialized education) and the Charles III College.
The private sector has four establishments (primary, secondary and technical education).
Note also :
* the Rainier III Academy of Music
* the Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance
* the Municipal School of Plastic Arts
* the Nursing School at the Princess Grace Hospital Complex.
MEANS OF ACQUIRING MONEGASQUE NATIONALITY
By birth : any person born in Monaco or abroad of a Monégasque father is Monégasque. The law governs the other means of acquiring nationality, by adoption, marriage or naturalization and the right to opt for Monégasque nationality possessed by children born to a Monégasque mother.
RELATIONS WITH FRANCE
Political relations are defined by the treaty of 27th July 1918 and by Article 436 of the Treaty of Versailles of 18th June 1919 which establishes a bilateral and reciprocal contractual relationship between the two States. Under this arrangement, in exchange for the undertaking by France to defend the independence and sovereignty of the Principality and the integrity of Monégasque territory, the Government of the Prince undertakes to exercise its rights in conformity with French interests. New agreements were signed after the war in 1945 and again en 1951 with the aim of making modifications to the earlier texts in order to adapt to new economic and social conditions.
New neighborly agreements were signed on 18th May 1963. The geographical situation of Monaco justifies the Customs and monetary union between the two countries which came into force in 1861.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS OF WHICH MONACO IS A MEMBER
Monaco joins U.N.
(28TH May, 1993)
Specialized organizations of U.N.O. : International Atomic Energy Agency, General Council of Fisheries for the Mediterranean of the Food and Agricultural Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, World Organization for Intellectual Property, World Health Organization, United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture, International Telecommunications Union, Universal Postal Union.
Inter-governmental organizations : Cultural and Technical Co-operation Agency, International Hydrographic Organization, International Exhibition Bureau, Ramoge Agreement Commission, International Whaling Commission, International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean, Inter-governmental Oceanographic Commission, European Conference of Postal and Telecommunication Administrations, Convention on International Commerce in Species of Wild Fauna and Flora threatened with Extinction, International Patents Institute, International Organization of Legal Metrology, International Criminal Police Organization, Latin Union.
Non-governmental organizations : International Diplomatic Academy, International Plastic Arts Association, Permanent International Association of Navigation Conventions, International Association of Convention Centers, International Committee of Military Medicine and Pharmacy, Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research, European Tourist Commission, International Music Council, International Council of Scientific Unions, Council of International Organization of Medical Sciences, European Federation of Convention Towns, International Theater Institute, Union of International Associations, International Geodesic and Geophysical Union, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, International Union of the History and Philosophy of Sciences, International Union of Biological Sciences.