Politics of ItalyCreated by: Benedict S. Gombocz
Italy in brief• Location: Southern Europe• Official name: Italian Republic (Repubblica italiana)• Capital (and largest city): Rome• Official language: Italian• Demonym: Italian
Geography of Italy• Italy borders France, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland on its north.• To the south, Italy is made up of entirety of Italian Peninsula, Sicily and Sardina – two biggest islands in Mediterranean Sea – and numerous other islands.• Independent countries of San Marino and Vatican City are enclaves inside Italy; Campione d’Italia is Italian exclave in Switzerland.• Italy’s territory covers about 301,338 km 2 (116,347 sq mi) and is inspired by temperate seasonal climate.• Fifth most populous country in Europe and 23rd most populous in the world, with 60.6 million people.
Religion in Italy• Even though the Roman Catholic Church no longer has status of state religion, it is by far Italy’s biggest religious denomination.• Catholics account for 87.8% of the population; 36.8% regard themselves as practicing Catholics and 30.8% regularly attend Church on Sundays.• There are important religious minorities, which include Eastern Orthodox and Protestant denominations, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-day Saints, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Baháís, and Federation of Damanhur.
Italy’s membership in world organizations• Founding member of what is today the European Union and part of Eurozone.• Also member of G8, G20, NATO, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Council of Europe, Western European Union (formerly) and United Nations.
Government of Italy• Government (Governo): Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic• President (Presidente della Repubblica Italiana): Giorgio Napolitano• Prime Minister (Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana): Mario Monti• Legislature: Parliament (Parlamento Italiano)• Upper house: Senate of the Republic (Senato della Repubblica)• Lower house: Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati)
Parliamentary parties• The People of Freedom (Il Popolo della Libertà, PdL)• Democratic Party (Partito Democratico, PD)• Northern League (Lega Nord, LN) ▫ Lombard League (Lega Lombarda, LL), Venetian League (Liga Veneta, LV)• Union of the Centre (Unione di Centro, UdC) ▫ Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e di Centro, UDC)• Future and Freedom for Italy (Futuro e Libertà per lItalia, FLI)• Italy of Values (Italia dei Valori, IdV)
Parliament of Italy• Italy’s national parliament and bicameral legislature with 945 elected members, referred to as parlamentari.• Made up of Chamber of Deputies, with 630 members (deputati) and Senate of the Republic with 315 members (senatori); both houses exercise same duties and powers, and the Constitution does not make differences between them.• However, as President of the Senate is Head of State when the president needs to be replaced in case of illness, death, resignation, or removal from office, Senate by tradition is regarded as upper house.• Party list electoral law is in use in both houses since 2005.• A majority prize is presented to coalition after securing plurality: at national level for Chamber and at regional level for Senate.
Giorgio Napolitano• 11th and current President of Italy since 15 May 2006.• Born 29 June 1925.• Long-time member of Italian Communist Party (1945-1991) and subsequently, for much shorter time, member of Democrats of the Left (1991-2006).• Served as President of the Chamber of Deputies from 1992-1994 and also as Minister of the Interior from 1996-1998.• Appointed as Senator for life in 2005; was elected President of Italy on 10 May 2006, and was sworn in five days later.• First Italian president to have formerly been member of Italian Communist Party.
Mario Monti• 54th and current PM of Italy and Minister of Economy and Finance since 16 November 2011.• Born 19 March 1943 in Varese.• Previously served as European Commissioner from 1995-2004, with liability for Internal Market, Services, Customs and Taxation from 1995-1999 and for Competition from 1999-2004.• Was also Rector and President of Bocconi University in Milan.• Was called by President Giorgio Napolitano on 12 November 2011, in midst of European sovereign debt crisis, to form new technocratic government (Italian: governo tecnico) after prior resignation of Silvio Berlusconi.• Sworn in as PM on 16 November 2011, exactly a week after being nominated Senator for Life.
The People of Freedom• Centre-right party and one of two important parties of current Italian political system.• Launched by ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi on 18 November 2007; was officially founded in party congress held between 27 and 29 March 2009, when Forza Italia and National Alliance merged.• Other than Berlusconi, PdL is led by secretary, Angelino Alfano, and three coordinators: Sandro Bondi, Ignazio La Russa and Denis Verdini.• Leading members include Giulio Tremonti, Roberto Formigoni, Franco Frattni, Maurizio Sacconi, Gianni Alemanno, Mariastella Gelmini and Giancarlo Galan.• Formed Berlusconi IV Cabinet in Italian government, in coalition with Lega Nord, from May 2008 until Berlusconi’s resignation in November 2011.
Democratic Party• Social-democratic party and Italy’s second- largest, behind rival The People of Freedom.• Led by Pier Luigi Bersani, who was elected in 2009 leadership election.• Founded 14 October 2007 as union of several left-wing and centrist parties, previously part of The Union in 2006 general election.• Its bulk was created by Democrats of the Left (successor of Italian Communist Party) and Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy.• Significant role is also played by the Christian left, within the party, who are direct successors of late Christian Democracy party’s left.• Has backed PM Mario Monti’s government since its formation following November 2011 resignation of Silvio Berlusconi, alongside Berlusconi’s The People of Freedom, Union of the Centre, and Future and Freedom.