Sunday, 26 September 2010

Italian Parliament For Sale

(sean_hickin, Horse Trading)

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - A few weeks ago, while asking for early elections, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi claimed that the Parliament Speaker Gianfranco Fini - his former ally and present rival - had to resign (1). His request was far from legitimate, the Speaker as well as any other member of the Italian Parliament being free from imperative mandate (2).

On September 10th, speaking at a conference on democracy in Russia, Silvio Berlusconi reported that the Italian Parliament, the President of the Republic and the Constitutional Court hold too much power and make the Government powerless (3).

Quite surprisingly, then, he concluded that early elections were not needed, the Italian Government being able to easily find support within the Parliament (4). Thus highlighting a usual attitude, he continuously changed position in a very short time (5).

In order to preserve power and escape justice, the Italian Prime Minister now relies on transformism (6): a bunch of MPs - calling themselves the 'Accountables' -  would indeed be ready to replace Gianfranco Fini's Future and Freedom votes to keep the Government alive (7).

Imposing party lists whose order cannot be changed by voters, the Italian electoral law has actually turned "the representatives of people into servants at their bosses' command" (8).

According to many observers, Silvio Berlusconi is allegedly buying support from new MPs: as outlined by Massimo Giannini, "the Parliament is used by the Prime Minister as his personal horse trading market, instead of being the place where people's sovereignty really expresses itself and where the elected serve the people" (9).

Silvio Berlusconi is bound to speak at the Italian Parliament next Wednesday, September 29th: every Italian MP has now the duty to listen to his conscience and prove that in Italy justice is still equal for all (10).


(1) Stefano Rodotà, "Le regole calpestate",, September 8th 2010.

(2) Giovanni Sartori, "Populismo costituzionale",, September 9th 2010.

(3) Andrea Bonanni, "L'esportazione del comizio",, September 11th 2010.

(4) Eugenio Scalfari, "Perché il Cavaliere non vuole più le elezioni",, September 12th 2010.

(5) Filippo Ceccarelli, "I quattro Cavalieri",, September 13th 2010.

(6) Massimo Giannini, "La lezione del Presidente",, September 15th 2010.

(7) Tito Boeri, "Gli irresponsabili",, September 18th 2010.

(8) Curzio Maltese, "Dal dietrofront al mercato dei seggi",, September 5th 2010.

(9) "la Repubblica muore e il senso civico deperisce, quando un'istituzione come il Parlamento viene usata da un presidente del Consiglio come il suo personale 'mercato delle vacche', invece di essere il luogo in cui si estrinseca concretamente la sovranità degli elettori e in cui gli eletti 'servono il popolo'" (Massimo Giannini, "Il mercato del Premier",, September 18th 2010). Massimo Giannini is vice-editor-in-chief at la Repubblica.

(10) Giuseppe D'Avanzo, "Cavaliere, ci dica se la legge è uguale per tutti",, September 21st 2010.


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