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Speech by Mr. Joseba Agirreazkuenaga, President of the ICHRPI

Mr. Joseba Agirreazkuenaga, President of the ICHRPI

Opening Session, 16 july 2019

I would like to convey congratulations of the ICHRPI to the president of the Consell General or General Council, Rt.Hon. Roser Suñé, the first woman to preside over this representative Assembly in its  600 years existence.

I should like to thank the organizers of the 71st Conference in Andorra, the Vice-President Mikel Urquijo and the local Committee, Dr. Joaquim Albareda, (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) Dr. Betlem Castellá (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), Albert Villaró (Technical director of the center for historical and political studies) of  the Institut d’Estudis Andorrans and Mrs Ester Grau of  the Consell General of the Principat d’Andorra or Parliament of Andorra. 

First, I would like to recall that in 1971 Andorra hosted the meeting of the ICHS-CISH and that we are an affiliate of the ICHS-CIHS, one of the most important organizations of historians in the world. But our Commission is also connected with political science.  We are here to continue the research into the past and the present and that is why we would like to thank you for your hospitality and for organizing the 71st Conference in Andorra.

The Commission was founded in 1936 and its first session was held in Lausanne. It was created to analyse the “Assembles d'etats” and representative assemblies, parliamentarism and parliamentary institutions, prior to the liberal revolution in the 19th century.

The case of the Consell provides an example of the survival of the Representative Assembly of the Parish in the long term, and of how a Representative Assembly has adapted to become a modern, liberal Parliament. In the Basque Country and other valleys of the Pyrenees representative assemblies and political, legal pactism were elements of the legal tradition. And legal pactism was in force in the Crown of Aragon.

But they were abolished in the course of the liberal revolution between 1789 and 1877 in both France and Spain.  In Andorra, however, these elements continued. This is real evidence and not just a contrafactual example. We have here an interesting issue for comparative studies.

At 47th Conference of the Commission organised in Bilbao, Michell Peronet , from Mompelier University organized a group of researchers from the French side of the Pyrenees to analyse and establish a comparative view about the organization of the representative assemblies up until the Frech revolution. On the other hand, our treasurer Gerald Koln organised a Conference about parliamentarism in micro-nation states, such Andorra, in Lichesteing  and the results can be found in the Studies collection on the website.

In summary, the celebration of the 600th anniversary of the Consell de Andorra is a historical metaphor for the work of our Commission studying the evolution of representative into modern, liberal parliamentary institutions.

We really appreciate the welcome and the opportunity provided by the Consell de Andorra to become better acquainted with the case of Andorra and to use this experience in our comparative researches.


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