Italy: Government alternation and legislative agenda setting

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Author: Francesco Zucchini

Published: The Role Of Governments in Legislative Agenda Setting, eds. Bjørn Erik Rasch and George Tsebelis. London: Routledge, p. 53–77 (2011)

Italian governance has gone through a political and institutional upheaval in the last sixteen years. At present, Italian governments seem to play a stronger role in legislative agenda setting. First, this chapter aims to investigate the main changes that have occurred in the last decades, summarizing information about past and current methods used by the Italian government to control the legislative agenda. Second, it aims to put forward a plausible hypothesis to explain the evolution of the Italian legislative agenda setting. We maintain that in Italy, the allocation of legislative agenda-setting power has been changing because of the increasing responsiveness of government formation and behavior towards electoral results. Whilst the level of party fragmentation remains unaltered or increases, the party system has changed from the pivotal to the alternational type. By affecting the relative status quo position, the government alternation affects the distribution of the legislative agenda-setting power and the party government cohesion.