State Structure and Political System of Italy

According to microedu, Italy is a “democratic republic based on labor,” says the Constitution, adopted in 1947. The administrative division includes three types of units: districts (20 of them), provinces (94) and communes, i.e. municipalities (about 1 thousand, enlargement is underway). It is customary to divide the economic regions of the North (Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Valle d’Aosta, Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia), Center (Lazio, Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzi, Marche) and South (Campania, Molise, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia). The largest cities (more than 1 million people, 1995): Rome, Milan and Naples. Large urbanized zones have developed around the cities of Turin, Genoa, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Bari, Palermo, Catania and Cagliari.

The administration of the state is carried out in accordance with the constitutional principles and norms of civil law. The highest body of legislative power is the bicameral parliament, the highest body of executive power is the cabinet of ministers (government). The head of state is the president. The head of the highest legislative body is the speaker of the upper house of parliament. The head of the supreme body of executive power is the Prime Minister.

By the nature of the distribution of prerogatives in the system of power, Italy is a parliamentary republic. The lower chamber (Chamber of Deputies) is elected for a period of 5 years, the upper (Senate) – for 6 years by direct universal suffrage; in the first case, citizens who have reached the age of 18 enjoy the right to vote, in the second – 25 years. The new electoral law of 1993 replaced the proportional voting system with a mixed one, with the majority principle prevailing. In the Chamber of Deputies, 3/4 of the seats are filled on a majoritarian basis, the rest – in proportion to the votes cast for national party lists, taking into account the access threshold (4%). In the Senate, 3/4 of the seats are filled by majoritarian, the rest – by proportional voting by district, and each party can nominate no more than one candidate in the constituency.

Based on the results of the elections, the president appoints the prime minister, who forms the composition of the government and submits it for approval to the president, and then to parliament. The government is responsible to parliament. The presence of a large number of factions in this body and the instability of party coalitions usually led to frequent changes in cabinets. S. Berlusconi’s government, which came to power in 2001, is the 59th in a row in the post-war period.

The president (according to the law he cannot be younger than 50 years old) is elected by an electoral college, consisting of members of both chambers and 58 representatives of districts, for a term of 7 years. A 2/3 supermajority is required for election, but if a candidate fails after the 3rd ballot, a simple majority becomes sufficient. The President may dissolve the Parliament, but not later than 6 months. before the end of his term of office.

Prominent figures of the post-war period were: A. de Gasperi, leader of the CDA and prime minister in 1945-53, who played a leading role in determining the strategy of Italy’s domestic and foreign policy at the stage of transition to democracy; L. Einaudi – the first president of the country, a prominent economist; E. Mattei – founder and president of the state oil holding ENI; G. Andreotti is a member of the leadership of the CDA, since 1946 a permanent member of parliament, who repeatedly headed the government or held high leadership positions.

The highest body of judicial power is the Constitutional Court. It consists of 15 judges, a third of whom are appointed by the President, a third are elected by Parliament, and a third are elected by the ordinary and administrative Supreme Courts.

The system of local executive and legislative power is undergoing a period of transformation. Since the 1990s a legislative shift is taking place in the country – the transfer of part of managerial functions (as well as financial and human resources) from the center to the periphery. In 1993, direct elections of mayors of cities with a population of St. 15 thousand people and provinces, majoritarian system of elections to local legislatures (juntas); Since 2000, heads of districts have also been directly elected. An important event was the revision in 2001 of one of the articles of the Constitution, which gave the districts legislative rights on a wide range of issues, incl. the right to amend their statutes without the mandatory approval of their center. All this has really increased the autonomy of regional and local authorities. At the same time, the role of functional autonomies increased – parastate organizations, having a specific form of self-government and closely interacting with the authorities in solving local problems (chambers of commerce, universities, local fairs, some health centers, consortiums, inter-municipal service enterprises, etc.). A new structure has also appeared – meetings, which are bodies of constant interaction between the central administration and regional and local levels of power on a consultative basis. The range of issues within the scope of activities of non-state structures and institutions of local self-government is constantly growing, which creates the preconditions for a federal reorganization. However, the emerging system cannot yet be characterized as federalism, since the upper house of parliament is not legally a chamber of regional autonomies.

The party system of Italy at the beginning. 1990s underwent profound changes. The system that preceded it was characterized as an “imperfect two-party system”, since it did not allow the alternation of two leading parties or blocs in power, which is usual for a democratic state. The CDA, the second largest political force, the ICP, had a de facto monopoly on power in the conditions of the Cold War and was doomed to remain in opposition. Coalition governments led by the Christian Democratic Party were formed on the basis of political bargaining, reinforced by the distribution of posts in the public sector. This gave rise to massive corruption. According to experts, the scope of illegal financing of parties participating in the division of budgetary funds through the placement of contracts, contracts, etc., reached 50-100 billion dollars a year. In 1992, a group of Milan prosecutors headed by A. di Pietro began to investigate the corrupt ties between party leaders and the business elite. More than 100 deputies of parliament, many ministers, prominent representatives of the industrial and financial world were involved in this operation (“clean hands”). Its huge public resonance, a wave of resignations, arrests, etc. in the conditions of the developing economic crisis, they led to the breakdown of the entire former party system. The Christian Democratic Party split and left the political scene, leaving three small groups on it. The ISP has practically disappeared, as have the small “buffer” parties of the Social Democrats and the Republicans. From the neo-fascist Italian social movement emerged the National Alliance, which disassociated itself from the ideological roots of its predecessor. The PCI, which had previously been transformed into the Democratic Party of the Left (DPLS), established itself as the main alternative left force. New parties arose – on the right flank “Forward, Italy” and the Northern League, on the left – “Rifondacione komunista” (supporters of the Marxist course). This radical shift, which meant the virtual disappearance of the former political class, marked the beginning of the formation of a new, bipolar party system.

Italy Politics