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Political Profile for Andorra
Flag of Andorra Andorra
Population: 69,865 (July 2004 est.)
Capital: Andorra la Vella
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Backgrounds: Andorra Political

Andorra held elections in March 2001 and returned Head of Government Marc Forne to power. Three major parties with clear political tenets emerged in those elections: the conservative, ruling, Andorran Liberal Party (PLA) headed by Forne; the Democratic Party (PD), recently renamed as Andorran Democratic Center Party (ADCP); and the more left of center Social Democratic Party (PS). The PLA is a reorganization of the former Liberal Union. The other two were born from the remains of political formations now inactive but which at one time had parliamentary representation. Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1993, three coalition governments have been formed. The current government headed by Marc Forne won an absolute majority with 15 seats; the PD obtained 5 and the PS 6. Forne was sworn in as Cap de Govern, or head of government, on April 12, 2001.

The government continues to address many long-awaited reforms: developing the infrastructure, including an airport and an aerial metro; expanding the social welfare; conserving the environment; and advancing the technology. Perhaps the most urgent issue that the new government is dealing with is the reform of the tax system.

There has been a redefinition of the qualifications for Andorran citizenship, a major issue in a country where only 26,511 of 69,100 residents are legal citizens. In 1995, a law to broaden citizenship was passed, but citizenship remains hard to acquire, with only Andorran nationals being able to transmit citizenship automatically to their children. Lawful residents in Andorra may obtain citizenship after 25 years of residence. Children of residents may opt for Andorran citizenship after 18 if they have resided most of their lives in Andorra. Birth on Andorran soil does not confer citizenship. Dual nationality is not permitted. Non-citizens are allowed to own only a 33% share of a company. Only after they have resided in the country for 20 years are they entitled to own a 100% of a company. A proposed law to reduce the necessary years from 20 to 10 is pending approval in Parliament.

By creating a modern legal framework for the country, the 1993 Constitution has allowed Andorra to begin a shift from an economy based largely on tax-free shopping to one based on tourism and international banking and finance. Despite promising changes, it is likely that Andorra will, at least for the short term, continue to confront difficult issues arising from the large influx of foreign residents and the need to develop modern social and political institutions. In addition to questions of Andorran nationality and immigration policy, other priority issues will include dealing with housing scarcities and real estate speculation, developing the tourist industry, and defining relations with the European Union.

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Data Source: US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.