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date: 15 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

During the First Republic, parliament was central to Italian political life. In parliament, coalition agreements were forged, and laws were shaped in parliamentary commissions, enhancing co-operation between different parties. Parties set the parliamentary schedule, giving small forces significant power to obstruct legislation. From the 1980s, parliament’s importance declined as that of the executive grew. Governments have become increasingly able to set the agenda, and have greatly expanded rule by decree, often turning parliament into a ratifying body and impeding debate between different forces. The importance of the parliamentary vote of confidence has been undermined by political bipolarity and by the activism of Presidents of the Republic in shaping parliamentary majorities. Parliament has lost legitimacy, especially as a result of the 2005 electoral law breaking the link between parliamentarians and their constituents. Efforts to reform parliament, in particular reducing duplication between Chamber and Senate have so far been unsuccessful.

Keywords: Italian Parliament, bipolarity, Chamber, Senate, President of the Republic

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