TITLE IV. THE GENERAL COUNCIL
The General Council, which expresses the mixed and apportioned representation of the national population and of the seven Parishes, represents the Andorran people, exercises legislative powers, approves the budget of the State and prompts and controls the political action of the Govern.
Chapter I. Organization of the General Council
- The Councillors are elected by universal, free, equal and direct suffrage for a four-year term. Their mandate shall cease four years after their election or on the day that the General Council is dissolved.
- Elections shall be held between the thirtieth and fortieth days following the dissolution of the General Council.
- All Andorran nationals fully enjoying their political rights are entitled to vote and to be eligible for election.
- A Qualified Law shall regulate the electoral system and shall envision the causes for ineligibility or incompatibility of Councillors.
The General Council consists of a minimum of twenty-eight and a maximum of forty-two Councillors Generals, half of whom shall be elected in an equal number by each of the seven Parishes and the other half elected on the basis of a national single constituency.
- The members of the General Council have the same representativity, are equal in terms of rights and duties and are not subject to any form of imperative mandate. Their vote is personal and may not be delegated.
- The Councillors may not be called to account for votes cast or any utterances made in the exercise of their functions.
- Throughout their term the Councillors may not be arrested or detained, except in the cases of flagrant delicto. But for that case, their detention and prosecution shall be decided by the plenary session of the Criminal Law Court and the trial shall be held by the Tribunal Superior.
The General Council draws up and modifies its own Rules of Procedure, with a majority vote of the Chamber, it fixes its budget and regulates the statute of the staff at its service.
- The Sindicatura is the ruling organ of the General Council.
- The General Council assembles in its inaugurating session fifteen days after the proclamation of the electoral results. The Syndic General, the SubSyndic General and, should this be the case, the other members who may statutorily be part of the Sindicatura, shall be elected in that same session.
- The Syndic General and the SubSyndic General may not exercise their office for more than two consecutive full terms.
- The General Council meets in traditional ordinary and extraordinary sessions, convened in the form prescribed in the Rules of Procedure. There shall be two ordinary periods of session throughout the year, as prescribed in the Rules of Procedure. The sessions of the Consell General are public, unless otherwise decided by the absolute majority of its members.
- The General Council functions as a Plenum or in committees. The Rules of Procedure shall provide for the formation of legislative committees such that they represent the composition of the Chamber.
- The General Council appoints a Permanent Commission to safeguard the powers of the Chamber while it is dissolved or in the period of recession. The Permanent Commission, under the presidency of the Syndic General, shall be formed in a way that will represent the apportioned composition of the Chamber.
- The Councillors may form parliamentary groups. The Rules of Procedure shall provide for the rights and duties of the Councillors and of the parliamentary groups, as well as for the statute of those Councillors not attached to a group.
- The resolutions of the General Council shall only take effect when it meets with the minimum attendance of half of the Councillors.
- The resolutions take effect when approved by the simple majority of the Councillors present, notwithstanding the special majorities prescribed in the Constitution.
- The approval of the qualified laws prescribed by the Constitution requires the final favourable vote of the absolute majority of the members of the General Council, except for the qualified laws of elections and referendums, as well as for those of communal competence, and of transference to the Local Councils, the approval of which requires the final favourable vote of the absolute majority of Councillors elected in parish constituencies and the absolute majority of Councillors elected in the national constituency.
Chapter II. Legislative procedure
- The legislative initiative corresponds to the General Council and to the Govern.
- Three Local Councils jointly or a tenth part of the electoral roll may put forward Private Members’ Bills to the General Council.
- Govern Bills and Private Members’ Bills shall be examined by the Plenum of the Chamber and by the committees in the form prescribed by the Rules of Procedure.
The General Council may delegate the exercise of the legislative function to the Govern, by means of a law. This function may not be sub-delegated. The law of delegation determines the matter delegated, the principles and directives under which the corresponding legislative decree of the Govern shall be issued, as well as the term of its exercise. The authorization will provide for the parliamentary forms of control of the delegated legislation.
- In cases of extreme urgency and need, the Govern may present the General Council with an articled text for approval as a law, in a vote on the whole text, within the period of forty-eight hours.
- The matters reserved to a Qualified Law may not be subject to legislative delegation or to the procedure provided for in part 1 of this article.
- The initiative of the Bill of the General Budget corresponds exclusively to the Govern, which has to submit it for parliamentary approval at least two months prior to the expiration of the previous budget.
- The Bill of the General Budget shall be given priority over other matters and it will be carried out in accordance with a specific procedure, as prescribed in the Rules of Procedure.
- If the Bill of the General Budget has not yet been approved on the first day of the corresponding fiscal year, the Budget of the previous year shall automatically be extended until the new one may be approved.
- The Bill of the General Budget may not impose taxes.
- The Finance Committee of the General Council shall make an annual revision of the execution of the Budget.
- The Councillors and the parliamentary groups have the right to amend Govern and Private Members’ Bills.
- The Govern may request the General Council not to debate those amendments implying an increase of expenditure or a decrease of revenue in relation to the amounts provided for in the Law of the General Budget. The General Council, by an absolute majority vote of the Chamber, may challenge that request by means of a reasoned motion.
Once a bill has been passed by the General Council, the Syndic General will present it to the Coprinces so that they may sanction it, enact it and order its publication in the Official Gazette of the Principality of Andorra.
Chapter III. International treaties
- The international treaties shall be approved by the General Council by absolute majority of the Chamber in the following cases:
- Treaties linking the State to an international organization.
- Treaties related to internal security and to defence.
- Treaties related to the territory of Andorra.
- Treaties affecting the fundamental rights regulated in TITLE II.
- Treaties implying the creation of new burdens for the Public Finances.
- Treaties creating or modifying dispositions of a legislative nature or requiring legislative measures for their implementation.
- Treaties dealing with diplomatic representation or consular functions, about judiciary or penitentiary cooperation.
- The Govern shall inform the General Council and the Coprinces of the conclusion of the other international agreements.
- The previous agreement of the absolute majority of the Chamber shall be required for the repeal of the international treaties affecting the matters enumerated in epigraph 1.
For the purpose of furthering the interests of the Andorran people, of international progress and peace, legislative, judicial and executive functions may be relinquished only to international organizations and by means of a treaty which shall be passed by a majority of two-thirds of the members of the General Council.
- The Coprinces participate in the negotiation of the treaties affecting the relations with the neighbouring States when dealing with the matters enumerated in letters b) o and g) of article 64.1.
- The Andorran delegation with the task of negotiating the treaties mentioned in the previous paragraph, shall be composed of the members appointed by the Govern and by a member appointed by each Coprince.
- The adoption of the text of treaties shall require the agreement of the members appointed by the Govern and of the members appointed by the Coprinces.
The Coprinces are informed of the other drafts of international treaties and agreements, and by request of the Govern, they may be associated to the negotiation before their parliamentary approval, if the national interest of Andorra so requires.
Chapter IV. Relations of the General Council with the Government
- After each renewal of the General Council, its first session, which will be held in the next eight days following the inaugurating session, shall deal with the election of the Head of Government.
- The candidates shall be put up for nomination by a fifth of the members of the General Council. Each Councillor may only endorse one candidacy.
- The candidates shall present their programme and after a debate, the General Council shall elect the one that obtains the absolute majority of votes, in the first public ballot after a debate.
- Should a second ballot be needed, only the two contenders with the best results in the first ballot may maintain their candidacy. The candidate with more votes shall be proclaimed Head of Government.
- The Syndic General shall present the result of the ballot to the Coprinces so that the elected candidate may be appointed as the Head of Government, and the Syndic General shall countersign the appointment.
- The same procedure shall be followed in the other cases of vacancy of the office of Head of Government.
- The Govern as a whole is politically answerable to the General Council.
- A fifth of the members of the Councillors may sign a reasoned motion of censure in writing against the Head of Government.
- After the debate held within the third and fifth days after the presentation of the motion, there shall be a public and oral vote, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure. The motion shall be carried only if it receives the votes of the absolute majority of the General Council.
- If the motion of censure is approved, the Head of Government shall be dismissed. Immediately after, the Council shall proceed as provided for in the article above.
- No motion of censure may be proposed within the six months following the most recent election of the Head of Government.
- The signatories of a motion of censure may not propose a further one until a year has elapsed.
- The Head of Government may lodge a motion of confidence before the General Council about his programme, about a declaration of general policy or about a decision of special significance.
- Confidence shall be considered as granted if it receives the simple majority of votes in a public, oral vote. If the Head of Government who does not attain this majority he or she shall tender his or her resignation.
- The Head of Government, after consulting the Govern, and under his or her own responsibility, may request the Coprinces to the dissolve the General Council prematurely. The decree of dissolution shall call new elections in accordance with article 51.2 of the Constitution.
- No dissolution shall be carried out after the presentation of a motion of censure or under the state of emergency.
- No dissolution shall be carried out before one year has elapsed after the most recent elections.