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The Italian parliament: In search of a new role?

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Authors: Giliberto Capano and Marco Giuliani

Published: Journal of Legislative Studies 9(2): 8–34 (2003)

The consolidation of Italian democracy dates back to the early 1950s. This half-century – a rather long period compared to the other Southern European countries – is now traditionally perceived as being composed of two different time intervals. The first 40 years were marked by continuous crises but even more by an overall political stagnation, and the last decade characterised by deep changes both in the institutional structure and in the partisan composition of the political system. The Italian Parliament has been at the centre-stage of both periods. Through a careful examination of its internal organisation and accomplishment of major functions – electoral, oversight, expressive and legislative – the chapter identifies the actual extent of the transformation experienced in the last legislatures. A clear picture emerges of an institution looking for a new role, caught between a majoritarian thrust and the Europeanisation process.