Monaco - Elections
Under Monaco’s constitution the Executive powers are invested in the Prince who is the highest authority and who chooses a Minister of State (Serge Telle) to lead the Government. The National Council has less power than its equivalent in France. Its role is to discuss and vote on laws presented by the Government, to vote on the national budget and ratify international treaties, but not to initiate or amend legislation. Parliament in Monaco has a single Chamber, being the National Council, which contrasts with the U.K. and the U.S. for example which have two Chambers.
The parliament is elected every five years under a mixed electoral system using open candidate lists in a single nationwide constituency. The seats are allocated in two stages. First, the 16 candidates who receive the largest amount of votes are elected under a majoritarian system. In case of a tie, the older candidate is elected. The remaining eight seats are then distributed proportionally among the lists that received at least five per cent of the valid vote and are allocated to candidates with the largest number of votes on that list.
Parliamentary elections are primarily regulated by the Constitution and the Law on National and Local Elections. Overall, the legal framework provided an adequate framework for democratic elections, although few areas would benefit from improvement, particularly in respect of the rights to vote and be elected without unreasonable restrictions.
Political activities are based on political associations that affiliate members who share the same political values, perceiving themselves as political parties. Voters decide mostly on the basis of candidates’ personalities and not on political agendas, as they personally know many candidates.
Since 1998, politics in Monaco has been dominated by two political associations, the Union for Monaco (UfM) and Horizon Monaco (HM). In the parliamentary elections held on 3 February 2008, the UfM won 21 seats and HM won 3 seats. A third list of candidates, the Monaco Ensemble that ran at the time did not win any seats. Of the 24 members of the outgoing parliament, 6 were women.
Voter registration is passive and 6,825 voters were registered for the 2013 elections. Elections were organized by the City Hall in a professional manner with voting taking place in a single polling station. While some of the technical preparations were conducted with a limited level of transparency, the election administration enjoyed widespread confidence and none of the electoral contestants expressed concerns about the administration of these elections.
Before the 2013 elections, two strong alliances were formed. The first, HM, was composed of the political associations of Rassemblementet Enjeux pour Monaco, Union pour la Principauté, and Synergie Monégasque, as well as some independent candidates. The second, Union Monegasque (UM), was established by core members of the UfM, joined by Union Nationale pour l'Avenir de Monaco and some independent candidates. In addition, two months before the elections, a group of employees of the Société des Bains de Mer, the largest employer in the country that holds the Monte Carlo Casino and other businesses, established a list, ‘Renaissance’. The primary goal of Renaissance was to assure at least one seat in the parliament to represent the interests of casino employees.
The campaign was vibrant and competitive, although at times antagonistic and negative in tone. While campaigning took place in an open atmosphere with equitable conditions for the candidates, some legal provisions challenge the freedom of expression. New campaign finance regulations were implemented for the first time in these elections. While electoral contestants are obliged to limit and disclose their expenses, there are no requirements concerning campaign finance contributions.
Media is independent and pluralistic, although limited by the size of its population. Media reported actively on the electoral campaign, interviewed candidates and published editorials on electionrelated issues, but there were no face-to-face debates between the main candidates. The public broadcaster covered campaign activities in line with the law, but UM and HM criticized the strict parameters imposed on the recording of campaign spots.
The National Council is elected every five years, in February. The candidate list for Union Monégasque comprises members of the Union de Monégasques and the Union Nationale pour l’Avenir de Monanco. Currently these parties held 20 seats in the Parliament. The Horizon Monaco candidate list comprises members of the Rassemblement et Enjeux party; the Union pour la Principauté, and Synergie Monegasque. Currently these parties had 3 seats in the Parliament. Renaissance is a list of candidates who are employees of the Société des Bans de Mers (SMB), who runs and operates many of the touristic facilities in Monaco. Currently the party had 3 seats in the Parliament.
Stéphane Valeri won a landslide victory in elections for Monaco’s National Council. Just over 70% of the population took to the polls, with an unprecedented 21 of the 24 seats in the parliamentary assembly going to Valeri’s ‘Primo’ party. The results are conclusive for the Party “(Priorite Monaco) Primo!” whose leader Stephane Valeri led a well-oiled campaign and is now destined to be President of the National Council when his election as leader will be carried out shortly. He formally replaced Christophe Steiner.
Stephane Valeri is a veteran of the political scene having been President of the National Council twice before in 2003 and 2008. For a time, from 2010 he was also Minister of Health and Social Affairs. The majority of the 24 seats go to Stephane Valeri’s Primo! Some seats are distributed to minority parties who have more than 5% of the vote to provide for a good debate between the majority and minority parties, while leaving no doubt about the majority and the leadership. Everything points the way to a productive and stable relationship between the National Council and the Government.
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