Club de Madrid Member Òscar Ribas, an architect of Andorra’s Constitution, died aged 84

Òscar Ribas Reig, the former Prime Minister of Andorra and Club de Madrid Member, died on Friday aged 84. Club de Madrid Members and the Secretariat alike are sad to learn of his loss and express their condolences to his family and friends.

A scholar and tenacious politician, Ribas is one of the architects of Andorra’s current constitutional setting. In the early 1990s, he led the drafting of the first Andorran Constitution, defining the state as “independent, democratic and social under the rule of law”. 

Andorran media and members of the current government have highlighted that Ribas was “a true statement” for their country. Xavier Espot, Andorra’s Head of Government tweeted: “On the passing of Òscar Ribas Reig, I remember the words by Isaac Newton: ‘If If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants’”. 

Òscar Ribas Reig was already a long-career politician, even before leading the drafting of the Constitution. In the 70s he was elected for Andorra’s Parliament (Consell General) and in 1973 he was the Parliamentarian who submitted the motion to extend the right to vote to women, a proposal that was successfully adopted. It was the first milestone of a political career dedicated to the deep institutional reform of the Principality of Andorra. 

His next political objective was to turn Andorra into a modern, constitutional and fully democratic state. Thanks to the Co-Princes Decree of 1981, Andorra acquired his first head of government, a position that Ribas held between 1982 and 1984. During this first term, his push for economic and fiscal reforms found a staunch opposition. This political stalemate led him to resign

Ribas won the elections again in the year 1990 and became the Prime Minister once more. He fostered a majority to draft and pass the aforementioned Constitution. Nevertheless, his push for economic and fiscal reforms failed again and Ribas presented his resignation mid-term in 1994 (he retained his premiership after the 1992 election). 

These last couple of years were also dedicated to a frantic international activity, through which Andorra would join the United Nations (July 1993) and the Council of Europe (November 1993). Between 2009 and 2015, Òscar Ribas Reig was a special ambassador with the mission of developing relations with the European Union.

Ribas participated in several of our Policy Dialogues and joined our efforts to make a COVID-19 vaccine available

A Member of Club de Madrid since 2014, Òscar Ribas contributed to several General Assemblies of the organisation and participated in our 2014 Policy Dialogue on Democracy and Human Rights in decline? and our 2019 Policy Dialogue on Digital Transformation and the Future of Democracy. 

More recently, Ribas signed a letter to support UNAID’s call for a vaccine against COVID-19 that is universally available to all people, everywhere and a letter led by Member Gordon Brown to urge G20 action in the face of the economic and health consequences of the pandemic.