Sun. Apr 21st, 2019

The Coprincipado, guarantee of the independence of Andorra

El Coprincipado, garantía de la independencia de Andorra



The theme synthetically stated by the title of this paper is historically complex, but gravid of effectiveness in the secular configuration of the Andorran political-institutional regime, to the point of being considered, commonly, as the ultimate reason, not only of its independence and of the originarity of its sovereignty, but also of its very historical survival. Andorra is made of time and memory. His only strength in the complex international world is that of his own history.

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However, it is necessary to point out that the Andorran Coprincipal was preceded by an embryo of public power, which subsisted, interacted powerfully and was combined with it in the attainment of the maturity of the regime. It proceeded as a legacy of powers over natural resources, valid in the territories of the Visigothic counties, which in Andorra originated a regime of direct democracy in its assembly management, both locally (parochial), and in the field of the whole of its valleys . In this last area, it crystallized in a regime of representative management exercised by an organ, created in the fifteenth century, properly named Consell de la Terra.





With the jurisdictional lordship of the Bishop of Urgell, from 1133, under the papal protection, Andorra began a process of formation of its own identity, differentiated from the Carolingian condal context. The subsequent infeudations of that first manor follow a succession route, propitiated by the current feudal regime, which leads to the seigniory of the County of Foix, implemented by the Pareatge of 1278, which delimits the tributary, military and judicial functions -the latter, under the rule of simul et comuniter (jointly and undividedly) - of the two lords, and establishes the vassalage of the count in relation to the bishop.


Andorra is made of time and memory. His only strength in the complex international world is that of his own history

The advent of the seigneurial powers not only did not diminish the nature and the characteristics of the primitive direct democracy of the grassroots powers, but their mutual conjunction modeled and strengthened, progressively, the full integrity of the Andorran political-institutional system. The Coseñorío came to be called Coprincipado, from the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries, with the Renaissance connotation of independence and sovereignty, as it happens at that time in other European scenarios.

Two events mark the beginning of a period of turbulence in the scenario of the Andorran Coprincipal: the meeting of the rights of the County of Foix on Andorra in the first French monarch of the Bourbon dynasty, and the attainment of the throne of Spain by the same dynasty in the person of king Felipe V. Their monarchs take back the conceptualization of the Andorran regime to its seigniorial-feudal condition of origin, they claim for themselves their sovereignty and they provoke a systemic disagreement between Co-princes in front of suppositions of interference of the neighboring States. Such situation, which led the French political scientist Ourliac to describe the Andorran regime as an "almost institutional disagreement of the co-princes", although it lasted basically until the constituent process of the 1990s, however, and paradoxically, grassroots institutions they interacted effectively to keep the system subtly counterbalanced by the triad of Andorran public powers.





The guarantor action of the independence and sovereignty of Andorra by the co-princes did not diminish by the ballast of that lapse of three centuries; it was only modulated with the application of the inveterate simul et comuniter rule, which enabled the effectiveness of the performance of only one of them. From the long list of performances of this nature, a reference to the most relevant ones can be found here.

The Episcopal co-Prince firmly challenged the claims and interference of the King of Spain Felipe V (tax subjection, military invasion of the Andorran territory under the pretext of avoiding pests or to eradicate the cultivation of tobacco, etc.), neutralized the Spanish-French negotiations of 1881 for the distribution of the Andorran territory, it obtained the failure of the attempts of invasion of Andorra by pro-Franco troops in the period 1940-1944, fought by all the means within its reach the initiatives tending to attribute exclusively to the French president the external representation of the qualified dependent territory of Andorra and the extension to it of international treaties signed by France, in application of the so-called colonial clause.

The French co-Prince rejected the claim of the Cortes of Cádiz and the monarch Fernando VII to include Andorra among the seigneuries abolished by Spain, as well as the legitimacy of the Agreement of May 31, 1841, which the pressures of Spain had obtained from the General Council by the problems caused by the Carlist dissident refugees in Andorra.






The Constitution of the Principality of 1993 attributes to the coprincipes being "guarantee of the permanence and continuity of Andorra, as well as its independence"

The Constitution of the Principality of 1993 attributes to the coprincipes being "guarantee of the permanence and continuity of Andorra, as well as of its independence". This attribution is projected effectively in two capital areas: 1) guarantee respect for the constitutional order in the formation of laws and international treaties; 2º) to guarantee in the external relations the defense and internal security, the integrity of the territory, the diplomatic and consular representation, the judicial or penitentiary cooperation.

The immediacy and correctness of the implementation of the new constitutional order is an indisputable fact. However, and as far as the co-princes are concerned, it is worth mentioning various factors that could be presumed because of dysfunctions, such as, by way of example, the qualified legislation for the development of the Constitution, in whose adoption the co-princes were prevented from to the Constitutional Court an opinion that obviates the rational indications of unconstitutionality that some of its contents aroused; or the perception of ways of fait accompli, fostered by police or judicial actions of other States in the interior of Andorra, etc.





Like all constitutions, Andorra regulates some subjects, which are based on a certain assumption, not explicit but recognizable through its interpretive instruments, which in any case is reflected in its text. It is particularly important that it deals with an action that may conflict with the condition of bishop or president of the French Republic, attached to that of co-prince. To obviate it, the Constitution resorts to the simul et comuniter rule: the act is valid with the performance of one of the co-princes. However, the assumption can be of such an entity that it raises a disjunctive rupturista of the Coprincipado.

The historical, identity and geopolitical scope of an issue of this magnitude deserves an in-depth analysis, which, without a doubt, Andorra would be able to dedicate to it. It would be an irresponsible lightness to turn it into a mere electoral claim or to lend itself to supporting strategies of populist campaigns (simplification versus complexity) instrumented potentially in the service of foreign annexation policies.







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