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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The acceptance of political parties as a normal, or even as a necessary, component of modern representative democracy has not been easy in Italy. The concern is that political divisions are not compatible with the common good. Hence, for long periods and from many different points of view political parties have been weak and unable to implement a true party government. The evolution of party rule in Italy began with weak collection of “notables” that was interrupted by single-party authoritarianism before passing to a “golden age” of mass political parties and then degenerating into leader-dominated populist parties in the late postwar period. It is still too early to say how stable and lasting this new phase will be. The weakening of political parties may undermine the foundations of parliamentary government and so pave the way for a more presidential or semi-president form of constitutional organization.

Keywords: political party, parliamentary government, representative democracy, single-party rule, authoritarianism

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