Legislative power is exercised by the Grand and General Council (Consiglio Grande e Generale) of 60 members, regularly elected every five years by universal suffrage at age 18. The Council elects from among its members a State Congress (Congresso di Stato) of 10 members (3 secretaries of state and 7 ministers of state), which makes most administrative decisions and carries them out. In 1960, universal male suffrage was established in place of the previous system, whereby only heads of families voted. Women also received the franchise effective in 1960 and were first permitted to run for office in 1974 (they voted in national elections for the first time in 1964). Nearly 100% of eligible voters participate in elections.
Two members of the Council are named every six months to head the executive branch of the government; one represents the town of San Marino and the other the countryside. The terms of these officials, called captains-regent ( capitani reggenti ), begin on 1 April and 1 October. The captains-regent, who must be native-born citizens, are eligible for reelection after three years. As of 2003, the captains-regent were Pier Marino Menicucci (PDCS) and Giovanni Giannoni (PSS). The secretary of state for foreign and political affairs serves the function of a prime minister. Fiorenzo Stolfi was chosen to fill this office in December 2002.