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Demonstrating the maturity of our democracy –

From Sabino Cassese

Points of strength and weakness). In this election campaign, Italy is returning to the European lens. Some impromptu and hasty exit in the homeland of the Commedia dell’arte

sThese first obstacles to the electoral campaign frightened many Italians and alarmed our European partners, causing them to fear that Italy might set out on the path of authoritarian regimes, with the aggravating circumstances represented by one of the founding members of the Union, who had always been a supporter of it. You will get stuck. Our European partners know our weaknesses, always fleeting governments, swings in political direction, and the weak executive capacity of the executive branch. Since the modern government must enjoy the confidence not only of its citizens, but also of its partners (this was what the countries that signed the Charter of the United Nations in 1945 in San Francisco and those who signed the Treaty of Society in Rome in 1957 wanted economic status), may A sudden exit during this hot August is undermining the recently buoyed confidence in Italy. So it may be useful to try to assess the strength of our democracy and its maturity.

We are weak in terms of

Political participation: Istat, a few years ago, calculated that less than 10 percent of people over the age of 14 participate in political life in any way. This is reflected in the number of party members, which does not exceed 700,000. But other European countries are no better than us: membership in political parties is also low in France and the United Kingdom (400,000 and 930,000) and there is also a decrease. The same can be said of electoral participation. In Italy it fell by 20 points and was about 73 per cent, but by 67 per cent in the UK and about 50 per cent in France. In short, we are in bad shape, but other democracies cannot boast of recording greater popular participation in politics.
The strength of a democracy is also measured by the sharing of its principles by the ruling class and the democratic vigilance exercised by its citizens. Too close relations with the Hungarian and Russian political class, as well as sovereign declarations towards the European Union, make many question the full loyalty of some political forces to the rules of democracy and the principles of freedoms. But those political forces are voluntarily subject to scrutiny, and make statements whose sincerity is beyond doubt. However, the protectors of public opinion are weak. A media system that is not entirely independent does not guarantee the plurality of information that President Ciampi brought to the attention of Parliament in 2003. There are still political-industrial-media links with secondary circles, such as the media-judicial department, which question the complete independence of the means of forming public opinion. Hence the possibility of the public sphere interacting strongly with public authority. An entanglement of this kind has serious ramifications for democracy, as US President Dwight Eisenhower noted in his farewell address in 1961.

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On the other hand, one of the strengths of Italian democracy is institutional pluralism: the national democracy is surrounded and supported by 8000 local democracies and 20 regional democracies. In this, Italy ranks second after Germany. Even if many democratic voices often sound a dissonant tone, and even if they cannot find a way to horizontal cooperation, which would strengthen it, the territorial autonomy, which was once still so characteristic of our country, is today the backbone The most lively.

A clear division of labor and a strict separation of powers are important components of a strong democratic government. Here the Italian constitutional political system shows all its weaknesses. Governments steal the legislative function from Parliament, Parliament pretends to be responsible (Its members aspire to pass self-executing laws), judges play the role of legislators and administrators, and the administration, always under attack, on the defensive and unable to modernize. It is clear that there is a lack of traffic control for decisions and that many trading flows are intertwined, slowing each other down. We are far behind, and very far, from other European countries.

The rivalry between powers is a tool for making the use of power nice and legitimate. Montesquieu wished that the Force had the strength to stop the Power. In Italy there is a powerful constitutional court, whose independence and prudence has never been in doubtwhose advantages can be better seen today compared to the US Supreme Court, which was also the example that was imitated in Italy in 1947. Other institutions that could have played the role of counterforces, failed to do so, or did not want to do so Preferably participate in management.

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The system of freedoms is an essential component of modern democracy: democratic principles have established themselves on the basis of liberalism, which is its historical development. Illiberal democracy is a contradiction in terms. After the fascist experience, crushed by liberties, Italy enjoyed a period in which collective and individual liberties flourished. It is no coincidence that the first part of our Constitution, the part that lists liberties and rights, is the most far-sighted and most appreciated part, which required the fewest changes. But the ultimate guarantors of liberties are the judges, and these, besides many advantages, also have the disadvantage of wanting to do a lot of tasks, while excluding the essential ones.

Finally, albeit slowly, In Italy constitutional patriotism developed, Without which the constitution cannot continue. Supported by the courts, beginning with the constitution, fidelity to constitutional principles is the greatest shield for democracy and liberties.

In conclusion, we have no reason to doubt the maturity of our democracy. Some impromptu and hasty outings these days will be justified by remembering that Italy was the home of the Commedia dell’arte.

Aug 13, 2022 (change on Aug 13, 2022 | 23:09)

Earl Warner

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