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February 2, 2012

Visit by the Prince and Princess to the National Council

 Picture : Visit by the Prince and Princess to the National Council

At the time of His wedding, HSH Prince Albert II expressed the wish to show HSH Princess Charlene the place where decades of the Principality's legislative history were written.
Thus, the Prince and Princess paid a visit to the National Council on Thursday 2 February.

On the occasion of this exceptional visit*, Jean-François Robillon, President of the National Council, gave a speech to which the Sovereign responded (appended document).
The Prince and Princess then signed this institution's Visitors' Book and attended a cocktail on the terrace of the building to share a moment of conviviality with the National Councillors and their wives.

* Visits by the Prince to the National Council are rare, even exceptional, by their very nature. Indeed, Articles 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution of 17 December 1962 consecrated the separation of powers: the executive power depends on the Prince's high authority; legislative power is exercised by the Prince and the National Council. According to Article 64, the Prince communicates with the Council via messages, which are read by the Minister of State. Prince Rainier III went there twice in the last years of his reign: on 25 June 2001, to emphasise the importance for the Principality not to remain outside the Council of Europe, and again on 28 October 2002 to inform the Assembly of the terms of the new Franco-Monegasque Treaty signed on 24 October.

The Sovereign's visits to the National Council:

- HSH Prince Albert II went to the National Council for the first time in His reign on 23 June 2006. There, he expressed his vision of the institutional balance defined by the Constitution: "I sometimes hear reference, here or there, sometimes implicitly, to the possibility of changing the political or constitutional system. This is simply out of the question. The reforms undertaken, especially in the European context, can in no way be taken as a pretext for undermining the Principality's very foundations or relinquishing our profound identity. [...] As the ultimate guarantor of the Constitution, it is my role to see that it is respected in every way. [...] The harmonious cooperation between powers implies [...] clear delimitation between the legislative function and governmental action. The Government, under my authority and on the basis of the orientations I define, is [...] solely responsible for administering the country." In conclusion, the Sovereign reasserted "with force the constitutional principle of the independence of judges in the framework of the delegated system of justice under the control of our highest jurisdictions."

A second time, on 5 January 2011, the Sovereign was received in the Assembly for the Centenary of the first Constitution. At that time, the President of the National Council, Jean-François Robillon, recalled the exceptional nature of such visits by the Prince, in view of the fundamental text: "If this official visit to our Assembly is only the second since Your Serene Highness's accession to the Throne, this is in no way due to a lack of interest in Parliament, but, on the contrary, a sign of great respect for our institutions and the separation of its functions."
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