The function of Head of State is exerced by two Captains Regent, elected by the legislative body, the Great and General Council (Parliament). They remain in office for just six months, according to a rule that dates back to the end of 1200, created in order to avoid letting the coutrys highest positions being assumed for too long by men with too much power.
The legislative body of San Marino is the Great and General Council (Parliament) made up of 60 members elected every five years by universal suffrage of all citizens 18 years of age and older; it is the most important assembly in which the political life of the small Republic is defined and in which the main choices for its evolution are made.
The government of the Republic of San Marino is the State Congress, usually made up of ten Secretaries of State (Ministers) chosen and elected within the Great and General Council, that is to say among the members of the political coalition that has won the election. They remain in office for five years.
San Marino also has other important political institutions such as the Council of the XII, which is very ancient and has judiciary functions and others connected to administrative justice. Moreover, the Republic has its own judiciary system whose duty is to enforce the laws as well as a structured bureaucratic, administrative and fiscal system thanks to which the whole Sate is administrated.
The various phases of penal justice is administered by Commissioner of the Laws and by the Judge of Appeals; civil justice is also headed by the Commissioner of the Laws, the Judge of Appeals and, in third recourse, by the Council of XII.
The Judge of 1st degree has jurisdiction over administrative questions, followed by the Judge of Appeals and the Council of XII.
Although the Republic of San Marino is a neutral State whose vocation for peace is universally acknoeledged, it does possess combined Military Forces representative of State independence (there is no obligatory military service).
The Regular Militia participates in official ceremonies and collaborates with police on certain occasions; the members of the Military Band are part of the Regular Militia.
The Guardia del Consiglio (Council Guard) escorts the Captain Regents and the Great and General Council.
The Guardia di Rocca (Fortress Guard) is in charge of San Marino artillery and on duty at the Public Palace and at the frontier guard posts.
The Gendarmerie is the police corps in charge of law and order in the country.
The Local Police Force exercises control in the field of commerce, tourism, food laws and traffic.
The National Central Bureau - Interpol, is designed to promote cooperation between the police forces of San Marino and those of other member countries.
The Republic of San Marino has diplomatic and consular relationships with over seventy European and non-European countries.
It is a member state of numerous International Organizations, such as the United Nations Organization (UNO) and many of its Programmes, Funds and Agencies, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It is also part of the Council of Europe and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
The Republic has also had relationships with the European Union since 1991; it participates in the Inter- Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and that of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with its own council delegation.
From May 1990 up to November of the same year and from November 2006 up to May 2007, San Marino has held the six-month presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.