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Andorra Modern History

After World War II, the Principality of Andorra entered a period of strong economic growth. From 1970, women, people between the ages of 21 and 25, and second-generation Andorran were also granted the right to vote. In 1985, the voting age was lowered to 18 and applied to all native Andorran.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER: List of most commonly used acronyms containing Andorra. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.

A political reform was implemented in 1981, when a government was created. The Principal's first head of government was Oscar Ribas Reig. In 1990, he appointed a commission with the task of drafting a new constitution that would lead to independence. In a 1993 referendum, 74 percent of Andorans supported the new constitution. The Principality of Andorra thus became a sovereign state. Political parties and trade unions were allowed, an independent judiciary was established and the country was given the right to conduct its own foreign policy.

In the general elections held in December 1993, five parties were elected to Parliament, but none of them got their own majority. Oscar Ribas Reig's National Democratic Group, which received the most votes, formed government with the support of New Democracy (Nova DemocrÓcia) and a smaller party. In 1994, Reig lost a vote of confidence in the General Council and a minority government was formed by Liberal Union leader Marc FornÚ MolnÚ with the support of a few smaller parties. FornÚ MolnÚ retained government power even after the 1997 elections, when the Liberal Union gained its own majority in parliament.

In 2000, the National Democratic Group split into two parties, the Left Liberal Social Democratic Party and the Middle Party Democratic Party.

Contemporary History of AndorraScandal about waste incineration

In the 2001 parliamentary elections, the ruling party, which then changed its name to Andorra's Liberal Party (PLA), again got its own majority. FornÚ MolnÚ re-formed government, and in the fall of 2002, it went through its worst crisis during the eight years in power. In October, the government unexpectedly closed a waste incinerator a few miles from the capital after it was revealed that the plant released a thousand times as much dioxin as was permitted by EU rules. Spain offered to temporarily take care of the garbage of the Principality, but the government decided to build a new incinerator. The action led to protests from opposition politicians, environmental groups and the public. The government received harsh criticism for its environmental policy and for lack of information about the environmental and health risks associated with waste incineration. Accusations of corruption also occurred.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, PLA lost its own majority. As the largest party, with 41 percent of the vote and half of the 28 seats in Parliament, the Liberals could still form a new government. According to the constitution, party leader FornÚ MolnÚ could not remain as head of government. He was succeeded in both positions by Albert Pintat SantolÓria, former Foreign Minister. In the elections, the Social Democrats increased sharply to 38 percent, mainly at the expense of the central party Andorra's Democratic Center Party (CDA), which gained 11 percent.

The Pintat government worked to remove Andorra's stamp as a tax haven. The creation of a more versatile economy, with a reduced dependence on the financial sector, has been an important issue since independence in 1993. In recent years, Andorra has also been pressured by the OECD Economic Cooperation Organization to change the rules of confidentiality for banks and financial institutions.

Economic reforms

The government also implemented other major changes in the economic field. Among other things, corporate tax would be introduced and the rules for foreign shareholding changed to increase foreign investment (see also Finance).

Six parties ran in the parliamentary elections in April 2009. One of the most important questions during the election campaign was whether a tax reform needed to be removed from the OECD's black list of tax havens. The differences between the parties mainly concerned the pace of reform.

The election seemed to mean the end of PLA's 15-year domination in parliament, when the party stepped back sharply. The Social Democrats became the largest party with 45 percent of the votes and half of the seats. The newly formed Reformist coalition (Coaliciˇ Reformista, CR), led by the ruling PLA, gained 32 percent, and Andorra for change (Andorra pel Canvi, APC) received just under 19 percent. The turnout was just over 75 percent.

After a first vote when Parliament could not agree, Social Democrat Jaume Bartumeu was appointed new head of government in June.

Changes in the tax system

The Social Democrats had previously promised radical changes to the tax system, including through the introduction of income tax, corporation tax and VAT. They also wanted to speed up legislation to reduce bank secrecy in order to remove Andorra from the OECD's black list of tax havens. The new government also had to try to address the economic problems as unemployment increased and the tourism industry experienced difficulties in the wake of the global financial crisis.

But with only half of the mandate, Bartumeu lacked a majority in the General Council and he found it difficult to push through his politics. He had to negotiate with other parties, but it was difficult when the right parties opposed the proposal on income tax. The opposition blocked the budget for 2010, and when it was clear in February 2011 that this year's budget would also not go through, Bartumeu announced the new election until April 2011.

 
 

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