The characteristics of sovereignty are permanence, exclusivity, total understanding, inalienability, unity, among others. A State is said to be sovereign when it has complete autonomy over itself; that is, it is independent of other states.
The term sovereignty comes from the Latin word “superanus”, which means supreme. Although the term is modern, the idea goes back to ancient Greece, where thinkers believed in the ultimate power of the state.
Today, the State can be defined as “the supreme authority within a territory”. It can have three dimensions: the sovereign, in charge of having sovereignty, the absolute character of sovereignty, no one is above it, and its internal aspects. The State is the political institution in which sovereignty is represented.
There are two aspects of sovereignty: internal sovereignty and external sovereignty. Internal sovereignty refers to a group of people in an independent state that has the legal authority to command and exercise obedience. This sovereignty exercises its authority over all individuals within the state.
External sovereignty refers to the fact that the State is independent of other States and not subject to other authorities. For example, each independent state reserves the right and authority to waive treaties or enter into military agreements.
Likewise, each independent state is free to decide its internal policies and join any power bloc it wishes. You might be interested in the 17 types of states that exist today.
10 main characteristics of sovereignty
This feature of sovereignty implies that no person, group, class, organization or association within the state can go beyond the sovereign’s authority, but all of them fall under its control and authority.
The universality of sovereignty also means that the sovereign of the state can legislate for all aspects of the individual’s individual and public life. This means that the sovereign powers of the State are equally valid and applicable in all corners of the territory.
All institutions, individuals and units are under the powers of the sovereign of the state.
With the death of the dictator Francisco Franco, an entire political regime fell, but the sovereignty of the Spanish State was not broken.
Permanence is one of the main attributes of sovereignty. Sovereignty persists as long as an independent state lasts. This means that the death of a king, the addition of other powers or the fall of the government does not mean the destruction of sovereignty or affect it in any way.
It must be taken into account that the ruler exercises sovereign power on behalf of the state, therefore, sovereignty lasts as long as it lasts, not its rulers. If the ruler disappears for some reason, the sovereignty will only change to a new holder, but it will not disappear.
The government may disappear or change frequently, but the state remains until it is dismembered or conquered by another.
By exclusivity, it means that there cannot be a sovereign state within another, since the unity of the state would be destroyed.
4- Full understanding
The state is completely compressive and sovereign power is universally applicable. Every individual and every association of the individual is subject to the sovereignty of the State. No individual or group of individuals, however rich or powerful they may be, can resist or disobey sovereign authority.
Sovereignty has no exceptions and does not grant exceptions to anyone. The only case where this would allow for exceptions is with a foreign embassy and diplomatic representatives of foreign countries on a reciprocal basis.
This in no way restricts state sovereignty in the legal sense; The State may abolish and withdraw diplomatic privileges previously granted to foreigners.
This characteristic refers to the fact that the State cannot withdraw from its sovereignty. This means that the sovereign does not retain sovereignty or the sovereign state, if the state or sovereign transfers that sovereignty to another person or another state.
Sovereignty is the life and soul of the State; It cannot be alienated without destroying the state as such. It is like a man who cannot transfer his life or personality to another without destroying himself in the process.
The cause of Catalan independence is a source of controversy in Spain, because the distancers say it breaks up national unity.
If the sovereign state does not exercise its sovereignty for a period of time, it does not mean that it has been destroyed. It must be remembered that sovereignty lasts as long as the state lasts, no matter how long it remains latent.
This attribute is the blood of sovereignty. Sovereignty cannot be a divided state; If it is divided, it is destroyed. It is the supreme power in a state; If sovereignty is divided, there is more than one state.
As a State is inalienable, it is also indivisible. Power can be delegated to various agencies, bodies or units, but not sovereignty. Just as a human body cannot be divided without dying, sovereignty cannot be divided without facing death.
Sovereignty is absolute and unlimited. The sovereign state has the right to do whatever it wants. Sovereignty is answerable to no one, although some modern thinkers think that international law is above sovereignty.
Originally it means that the sovereign state has power in virtue of its own right and not in virtue of someone else.
Sovereignty is something of the State, it makes it sacred and, above all, human institutions.
In the State, no individual or institution has sovereign powers; The State is the only one that can have it. Therefore, it is this unique characteristic that makes the State distinguish itself and have a superior status. It is the only power that is in the hands of the State.