The Ace in the Hole

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If the Italicum, not yet approved, is already the most criticised election law of the brief history of our republic, indeed there must be a reason. Indeed, more than one. Born of the the Nazarene agreement, the nit became only of the majority and now is the offspring of Renzi only. The Italicum, scares everyone, except the Premier. Why, because surveys at hand, Renzi is convinced the country is his. And someone is against him for this very reason. But according to many constitutionalists, the Italicum is a huge monstrosity regardless of whoever wins: basically, an assault on the Constitution.

The first danger is that it could risk assigning 55% of the seats to a political force that only obtains 15%. This is all to blame on the abnormal majority that goes to a single party (no longer the coalition) that exceeds 40% in the first round. Or to the party that wins the runoff, whatever its electoral importance. This also goes for little minority parties. A majority prize which reveals to be even more un fair than the ‘Porcellum’ (election law) which was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

Danger number 2. The Italicum, despite being “only” an election law, in fact, will transform the constitution from an elected parliament to a presidential constitution, thus bypassing it. (as has also been admitted by Renzi’s advisor, prof. Alimonte; as it introducesthe direct election of the Prime Minister designated by the party that ‘grabs all’. Therefore, changing the relationship between government and Parliament to the benefit of the President of the Council of ministers. Which, based on the strength of the electoral mandate, with a Parliament dominating 55% of the seats and a semi-abolished Senate nominated by political parties, no longer will have the power to supervise. Power that our constitution entrusts to the sovereignty of the people, through the vote and the election of the chambers. A leap back in time, worst than that of the statute ‘Albertino’, at a moment when the 70th anniversary of the liberation from nazi-fascism, is being celebrated.

The third danger, reduce sto the minimum the citizens’ voting power, which already had been previously weakened by the Porcellum. With the catch of the fixed party list of nominators and the Senate of regional councillors and mayors chosen by the party secretaries, will once again be the masters of the ‘Palace’ and who will appoint their ‘co-tenants’. Not even taking heed of the judgment passed by the Council, which has already rejected even the fixed party list of the ‘Porcellum’.

Danger number 4. To guarentee the survival of the Minister of the Interior Alfano and his ‘little party’ ,the threshold of the Italicum has been dropped to 3%. Something that triggers the fragmentation of parties and of micro-identity parties seeking quids which would give even more power to the overuling party.

As if that weren’t enough, there’s also a fifth danger. If it were to be approved, the Italiacum would leave the country with no election law fora n indefinite period of time. As it only applies to the Chamber, while until proven otherwise, we still have the Senate. In fact, the reform could take many months.

These in prinicple are the main issues to be addressed by the Constitutional Court. Then there are those of form, which in politics is never a detail. For Renzi to approve these reforms in haste, regardless of their ‘good will’, went against all and everyone. First against his former brotherhood colleague, Silvio. Then his own party, which in the name of loyalty to society is changing genetically, going against all of its founding principles. Whether it be a strategy of Renzi, to provoke a split within the lines of his Democratic party, is not our business, but the suspects are more than lawful.

The fact is that Renzi, until a few months ago, had been preaching the importance of sharing the path to approve the reforms for the sake of the country, at the cost of coming to a deal with Berlusconi. Today, he is going in the opposite direction instead, trampling over the Constitution to which he vowed in front of the President of the Republic. A few days ago, he betrayed art.67 (“Each member of Parliament represents the nation and exercises his duties without constraint of mandate”) with the substitution of 10 MPs in the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Democratic Party, who threatened to disobey his orders and would vote according to their conscience. But Renzi betrays the Charter even when he menaces to put his trust on the reforms and blackmails Parliament with “everybody go home” (the early elections that not he but not the head of State should decide). In particular, it violates article72, which excludes the vote of confidence on the Bills relating to electoral and constitutional” matters, because it would cancel debate and would cripple the freedom of members of Parliament.

On the premise that, any law, at least for the present moment in Italy, before entering into force has to have the approval of the President of the Republic. The same Sergio Mattarella, who sitting as judge of the Council, had formerly rejected the current election law, from which the Italicum takes the worst. The same Sergio Mattarella, one time deputy party member of the Margherita had uttered these words, when in 2005, Berlusconi emerged with a majority on Devolution reforms and Porecllum, uttered these words in Parliamet: “today you government and majority you’re making your own constitution, you have excluded any discussion with the opposition and have gone ahead for the sak of not bringing down the government. But the institutions are of all, majority and op position combined “.

Translation provided by Marina Stronati

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