Friday, April 15, 2005
Monday, April 11, 2005
The politics of Monaco have traditionally been under the autocratic control of the Prince of Monaco, and from its founding the principality was a monarchy ruled by the House of Grimaldi; however, with the creation of a Constitution in 1911, the Prince relinquished his autocratic rule and the principality became a constitutional monarchy. Though he remains the head of state, some of his former power is now devolved to several advisory and legislative bodies.
Constitution of Monaco
A first Constitution of Monaco was adopted in 1911 and a new one, awarded by Prince Rainier III on December 17, 1962, outlines legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government, which consist of several administrative offices and a number of councils. Despite having relinquished some of his formerly absolute power, the Prince of Monaco remains head of state and retains most of the country's governing power; however, the principality's judicial and legislative bodies may operate independent of his control.
conventional long form: Principality of Monaco
conventional short form: Monaco
local long form: Principauté de Monaco
local short form: Monaco
Data code: MN
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Administrative divisions: none; there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are four quarters (quartiers, singular - quartier); Fontvieille, La Condamine, Monaco-Ville, Monte-Carlo
Independence: 1297 (beginning of the rule by the House of Grimaldi)
National holiday: National Day, 19 November
Constitution: 17 December 1962
Legal system: based on French law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
chief of state: Prince ALBERT II (since 6 April 2005); Heiress Presumptive Caroline, Princess of Hanover, sister of the monarch (born 23 January 1957)
head of government: Minister of State Patrick LECLERCQ
cabinet: Council of Government is under the authority of the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; minister of state appointed by the monarch from a list of three French national candidates presented by the French Government
Legislative branch: unicameral National Council or Conseil National (24 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held in February 2003 (next to be held NA February 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Union for Monaco 21 - Rally for Monaco - National and Democratic Union 3
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Tribunal Supreme, judges appointed by the monarch, some on the basis of nominations by the National Council
Political parties and leaders: Union for Monaco [Christophe SPILIOTIS] Rally for Monaco - National and Democratic Union or UND [Guy MAGNAN]
International organization participation: ACCT, ECE, IAEA, ICAO, ICRM, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, International Criminal Police Organization - Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, OSCE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, Council of Europe.
Source for this post: Wikipedia.org
Durante 56 años, Rainiero Grimaldi gobernó con mano firme el diminuto estado de Mónaco, situado a orillas del mar Mediterráneo. Con apenas 32.000 habitantes -de los cuales sólo 9.000 son monegascos- Mónaco se convirtió, en la última mitad del siglo XX, en una sociedad pujante y lujosa en la que el glamour y el exceso desarrollaron la marca de la casa.
La historia reciente de Mónaco es inseparable de la actividad diplomática y financiera realizada por el príncipe Rainiero. Bajo su tutela, las faldas de los cerros L´Abadie y L´Acere irían poblándose de altos edificios en los que empresas de todo el mundo abren sus sedes atraídas por las facilidades fiscales del Principado. Mónaco es una potente máquina de multiplicar fortunas que, a día de hoy, genera un volumen de negocio de 600 millones de euros.
Por si fuera poco, Rainiero se encargó de proyectar una imagen casi legendaria de la Casa Grimaldi. Casado con uno de los mitos más centelleantes de Hollywood, la actriz Grace Kelly, Rainiero explotó con habilidad una posición pública a medio camino entre la élite cultural y la cultura de masas. Esto le llevó a protagonizar las portadas de las revistas del corazón mientras patrocinaba exquisitas compañías de danza.
Todo este legado cultural, social y económico recae ahora sobre el heredero del Principado, Alberto de Mónaco. Con 47 años de edad, Alberto Alejandro Luis Pedro Grimaldi, príncipe de Mónaco y Marqués de Baux, deberá mantener vivo el espíritu de una dinastía con más de siete siglos de antigüedad y controlar las riendas del pequeño país de la Costa Azul.
El único varón fruto del matrimonio entre Grace Kelly y Rainiero gozó desde su infancia de una educación esmerada que ha dado como resultado, según sus allegados, a un hombre provisto de una sólida formación y sobradamente preparado para cumplir la nueva función a la que se ve encomendado.
Alberto inició sus estudios en las Escuelas Comunales, cursó bachillerato en el Instituto Alberto I y, posteriormente, estudió Ciencias Políticas y Económicas en el Instituto Saint Maur. La influencia de su madre le llevó a dominar el idioma inglés, por lo que completó su formación en Estados Unidos, concretamente, en el Amherst College (Massachusetts). En 1981 se graduó con el título en Administración Política y, poco después, realizó prácticas financieras en la Banca Morgan de Nueva York. Más tarde, trabajó para una agencia de publicidad, un gabinete de abogados y en la firma francesa Moet Hennessy. De 1981 a 1982 sirve en la Marina de Francia (país que se encarga de la defensa del Principado).
Tras abandonar parte de sus vínculos con la actividad empresarial y, sobre todo, al ingresar Mónaco en Naciones Unidas en 1993, Alberto comienza a dar muestras de una mayor presencia en la vida política y social de su país, bien como presidente de la delegación monegasca de la ONU, bien como promotor del Principado en el extranjero.
Desde hace años, Alberto colaboraba codo con codo junto a su padre en la gestión del país. No en vano, el viejo Patrón como se le conoce en Mónaco-, había conseguido crear en su hijo la figura de un fiel consejero desde que, a la temprana edad de 16 años, Alberto asistiera a una reunión del Consejo Nacional (Parlamento).
Fuera de la política, Alberto es conocido por ser un consumado y polifacético deportista: cinturón negro de judo, practica también la natación, el tenis, el esquí, el automovilismo (ha participado en el Rally París-Dakar), el golf, el rugby y los deportes de vela.
Con tan brillante currículo, sólo la pertinaz soltería de Alberto parece ensombrecer la figura pública del aristócrata. Pese a que se le han atribuido multitud de romances, el nuevo príncipe monegasco parece no haber decidido si desea fundar una familia a corto o medio plazo. Sin embargo, la Casa Grimaldi, que no contempla la ley sálica, tiene asegurado su relevo dinástico en Carolina de Mónaco, hermana mayor de Alberto y primera heredera al trono tras el varón. Los hijos que la princesa tuvo en su relación con el multimillonario Stéfano Casiraghi, Andrea, Pierre y Carlotta, serían los siguientes pretendientes al Principado en la línea sucesoria de la familia.
Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi was born on May 31 1923 into a princely family whose meagre possessions had never inhibited their capacity for vicious internal feuds. The Grimaldis first made their mark in the 12th century, as a seafaring (not to say piratical) family in Genoa. Their connection with Monaco dates from 1297, when François Grimaldi, known as "the Spiteful", captured the Rock from the Genoese, who had fortified it since 1215.
Although François was soon expelled, a kinsman of his bought the lordship of Monaco in 1338; and soon afterwards added to it the nearby villages of Roquebruna and Mentoneas (now Roquebrune and Menton). Although the Grimaldis were again chased off the Rock by the Genoese in 1355, they were able to re-purchase Monaco in 1419.
This time they clung on to their prize, though compelled in the early 17th century to accept Spanish protection. No one troubled to object when, in 1612, the lord of Monaco began to refer to himself as "Prince".
The Grimaldis lost their principality during the French Revolution, when Monaco became part of the Alpes Maritimes département of France. Even after it was restored to them in 1814, the Grimaldis hardly felt secure. Indeed, in 1861, after France and Sardinia had joined forces to throw the Austrians out of Italy, France gained Menton and Roquebrune, where the Grimaldis' taxation had long been resented. But Monaco itself emerged from these negotiations with its independence confirmed.
Meanwhile Prince Charles III, or more accurately his mother Princess Caroline, had hit upon the means of restoring the Grimaldis' fortunes by introducing a casino in 1857.
The Société des Basins de Mer was set up to run the enterprise, with the stipulation that no native Monégasque should be allowed into the casino. The business did not prosper until the injection of Rothschild money made possible the building of hotels, and of a new casino which opened in 1864.
So Monte Carlo (named after Prince Charles) was born. Yet, though the Grimaldis were now well off, they remained as quarrelsome as ever. And at the end of the 19th century, their natural talent for discord was sharpened by a startling mésalliance.
A laundrywoman who worked for Louis Grimaldi, Rainier's grandfather, asked him to keep an eye on her daughter Marie, who worked in a Montmartre night club, when he went to Paris. This Louis did to such effect that he had a daughter with Marie, called Charlotte.
For some time the rest of the Grimaldis would have nothing to do with either Marie or Charlotte. But in the absence of any other heir, Louis's father, Prince Albert, arranged in 1919 for Charlotte to be legitimised and (the next year) married to an impoverished French aristocrat, Pierre, Comte de Polignac. A daughter, Antoinette, was born at the end of 1920; and three years later Rainier became the first Grimaldi heir to be born in Monaco since 1758.
Having discharged his procreative duty, de Polignac, sensible of being disliked almost as much by his wife as by his father-in-law, left Monaco. "To make love," Princess Charlotte complained, "he needs to put a crown on his head." By the terms of his divorce settlement, he was forbidden to return to Monaco; and the carabineri were given instructions to eject him bodily if he flouted this ban.
The Grimaldis employed an English nanny, Kathleen Wanstall (said to be a cousin of Winston Churchill), who resolutely refused to speak, or even listen to, a word of French. De Polignac, who had retained rights over Rainier's education, insisted on his going to an English prep school, Summer Fields, at St Leonards, where he was known as "Fat Boy Monaco".
Rainier went on to Stowe, from which he ran away; when he was returned to the school the authorities placed him in the sanatorium. Meanwhile, Prince Louis and de Polignac continued to wrangle over their rights to control the boy until the British High Court decreed, in March 1936, that Rainier should be returned to Louis's custody. Thereafter the prince was sent to an easy-going school at Le Rosey, in Switzerland, where he was much happier.
He had just gone to Montpellier University when the Second World War broke out. After the fall of France, Prince Louis of Monaco threw in his lot with the Vichy regime, whereas Rainier, who remained in Montpellier, followed his father in developing sympathies with the Free French. He also acquired a mistress, the French actress Gisèle Pascal.
In 1943 he graduated from Montpellier and went on to the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris. He returned to Monaco in September 1944, a month after the Germans had left, and demanded (unsuccessfully) that the principality's pro-Vichy minister should be dismissed.
Rainier then joined the French army, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery under fire in Alsace. Subsequently he became a liaison officer with the Americans at Strasbourg, and at the end of the war went to Berlin, where he served in the Economic Section of the French military mission.
After leaving the army in 1947, Rainier took a villa at Beaulieu-sur-mer, where he carried on his affair with Gisèle Pascal. His intellectual interests were confined to zoology; he loved animals, and would later have a small private zoo in Monaco. As to his other pursuits, he enjoyed a whiff of danger, whether skiing, motor racing, piloting speedboats or spear-fishing in the Red Sea.
When he succeeded his grandfather as Prince of Monaco in May 1949, his first act was to set aside the will by which Prince Louis left half his fortune to Princess Ghislaine, his consort since 1946. He also invited his father back to Monaco, and set him up in the Hôtel de Paris.
Meanwhile, Gisèle Pascal was relegated to the role of weekend companion in a villa on Cap Ferrat. But she missed the theatrical world, and in 1953 married the actor Raymond Pellegrin. Thenceforward Rainier was obliged to look elsewhere in order to secure the succession.
The era of Grace Kelly ended with brutal suddenness on September 13 1982 when her car burst through the barriers on the Corniche road near La Turbie - in the same hills where she had once driven with Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief. Her funeral, unlike her wedding, was attended by an impressive number of dignitaries, including the King and Queen of Belgium, the Queen of Spain, the Princess of Wales and Nancy Reagan.
Rainier was devastated by his loss, and for some time afterwards seemed unable to maintain his normal control. In New York in 1983 he earned the sobriquet "Rocky" Rainier on account of his penchant for throwing punches at photographers who snapped him with various escorts.
There were rumours that he would marry Princess Ira von Furstenberg, reputedly described by Princess Margaret as too big a woman for so small a principality. Rainier himself might have reflected that his children provided more than enough family life.
Princess Caroline, his eldest child, reacted against her parents to the extent of marrying the French playboy Philippe Junot in 1978; they divorced in 1980, and the Catholic Church obliged with an annulment. Her second marriage, to Stefano Casiraghi in 1983, ended when he was killed in a speedboat accident in 1990. She married Prince Ernst August of Hanover in 1999.
Princess Stephanie, Rainier's youngest child, capped various amatory adventures by marrying Daniel Ducruet, her former bodyguard, in 1995; their union ended four years later when he was filmed making love to a stripper who had won the "Miss Bare Breasts Belgium" title; Princess Stephanie later took up with an elephant trainer, a butler and a gardener before deciding to marry a trapeze artist.
During the 1980s there was speculation that Rainier would abdicate in favour of his son, Prince Albert, born in 1958. But Albert's reluctance to marry, and an apparent lack of iron in his character, did nothing to forward his early succession. He now succeeds his father; in 2002 the constitution was changed so that the title can pass through the female line if he remains childless.
Even though the remarkable economic growth which Rainier had brought to Monaco tailed off in the later 1990s, he had certainly been one of the more successful princes of Monaco.
Why is Monaco a country?
Like Las Vegas, Monaco is really a dream - largely the dream of Rainier III, the prince who ruled it from 1949 until his death Wednesday at 81.
Monaco is little more than a rock on the shore of the Mediterranean near the French-Italian border, smaller than Central Park in Manhattan or the Mall in Washington. Monaco has no mineral resources, arable land, army or income tax, and with 498 police officers for 33,000 residents, practically no petty crime. Its government is named by the ruling prince, now Rainier's son, Albert II, 47, though there is a 24-seat elected Legislature.
Why is it a country? Because, like Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, it is a relic of Medieval Europe that more powerful neighbors allowed to survive. The House of Grimaldi, the clan that seized control of Monaco in 1297, adroitly played Italy, France and Spain against one another over the centuries and remained sovereign - to a degree.
Tourism and gambling, with the kind of gamblers who arrive by yacht, were long the mainstays of the economy. Rainier's great-grandfather, Charles III, started the first of the gambling casinos in the section now known as Monte Carlo in 1863, and the prince is the major shareholder in the company that controls them.
Rainier faced a crisis in 1962, when Charles de Gaulle grew fed up with French citizens' taking residence in Monaco to avoid paying income tax. He threatened to isolate the principality and cut off its supply of French francs, the principality's currency until the advent of the euro. In 1963, Rainier agreed to a treaty that decreed that the French citizens who live in Monaco (currently there are some 12,000) have to pay income tax to Paris.
Prince Rainier's storybook marriage to Grace Kelly in 1956 increased the principality's popularity as a resort, and the prince used low business taxes to lure more than 100 service companies and private banks, mostly foreign-owned. He also built a huge convention center on a landfill in the harbor.
The 5,000 or so native Monegasques who live there (thousands more live abroad) speak, look and act like their French neighbors on the Côte d'Azur. Another 5,000 or so residents are Italian. Among the principality's attractions is the annual Formula I Grand Prix race, from May 19 to May 22 this year.
CRAIG R. WHITNEYWhat Was That?
Thirty-second commercials have been the common currency of television for as long as many viewers can remember. But with the news that Puma plans to begin using 15-second spots on Monday , and following recent Cadillac commercials that last just five seconds, it appears the currency is being revalued.
In the early days of TV, 60-second spots ruled. After cigarette commercials were driven from the airwaves in 1971, however, broadcasters began offering cheaper 30-second commercials to draw new advertisers and replace the lost revenue.
The new format still allowed ad agencies to tell stories using characters, music and humor. But the cost of those 30 seconds kept rising, so that by the late 1980's, companies began trying 15-second spots.
Since then, the advent of commercial-zapping remotes and digital video recorders, which can edit out ads, along with steadily fragmenting television audiences, have raised questions about the value of 30-second spots.
Responses have varied. Last summer and fall, Under Armour Performance Apparel ran a 90-second commercial that it called a MicroMovie to try to make an impact. Ninety seconds is an expensive amount of time on television, though, so more marketers are eyeing quick hits. Agencies specializing in 10-second spots are proliferating. Viewers can only hope that brevity, in this case, will be the soul of wit.
NAT IVESPius Work for You?
One perk of being pope is that you can pick your own name. This wasn't always the case. Originally, popes kept their given names, but in 532, when a priest named Mercury assumed the throne, he discarded his pagan name in favor of John II. By the early 11th century, new names were the rule. Marcellus II, elected in 1555, was the last pope to keep his given name.
Various popes have rechristened themselves after apostles or other important church figures; many have taken names that project an image, like Pius, Clement or Innocent. Frequently, a pope will name himself for a distinguished predecessor: in 1831, Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari became Gregory XVI because he particularly admired Gregory the Great (pope from 590 to 604) and St. Gregory VII (1073-85).
Among the 265 popes are 43 whose names have been used only once. The list includes Linus, Eusebius, Agatho, Sisinnius, Formosus, Romanus and the improbable Hilarius. It's unlikely that the next pope will choose any of these. It is also all but certain that he will not fashion himself Peter II, after the first pope, whose name is held sacrosanct.
Generally, modern popes name themselves in deference to a Holy Father who helped them rise through the church's hierarchy or otherwise shaped their careers. Hence, for the last few centuries, the same names have tended to recur.
From 1667 to 1774, 6 of the 12 popes were Clements; after them, 7 of the next 11 were Piuses. In fact, just six papal names - Clement, Pius, Benedict, Leo, Innocent and Gregory - account for every pope from 1590 to 1958, with only four 17th-century exceptions: Paul V, Urban VIII, and Alexanders VII and VIII.
When the reform-minded Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli became John XXIII in 1958, he signaled his break with centuries of tradition by adopting his father's name. In doing so, he also reached back more than 600 years to his papal namesake, John XXII (1316-34).