How presidentialism works, which the right wants to introduce in Italy

How presidentialism works, which the right wants to introduce in Italy

How presidentialism works

Cyclically, in the election campaign, in Italy we return to talk of presidentialism and therefore of a possible reform of the Constitution. For supporters of change, a presidential turn would increase the stability and decision-making efficiency of governments, guaranteeing great powers and freedom of action to the president. While those who are against it argue that it is not the form of government itself that determines decision-making efficiency and greater or lesser stability, which instead depend on various institutional and political factors, taking for example the difficulties of US governments in getting structural reforms approved. , such as health care, or the failures and instability of Latin American states.

The parliamentary system The presidential system The semi-presidential system Differences between the different systems. Systems in the European Union The semi-presidential system in France The proposal for semi-presidentialism in Italy Elections 2022 The electoral campaign for the September 25th vote gets underway

Arrow The parliamentary system The parliamentary republic model provides for the centrality and sovereignty of Parliament. In this case, the electors directly elect only their own representatives, who, in turn, elect the President of the Republic and give, or not, their confidence in the government, which is always appointed by the head of state. It is the most widespread form of government in the world and is characterized precisely by the need for a relationship of trust between parliament and government, without which the executive is forced to resign. This is why we speak of government as a permanent emanation of parliament, in which parliament is the guarantor of the link between the electoral body and the executive. Countries with this system of government include Germany, Greece, Italy and Latvia,

The presidential system The presidential republic, or presidentialism, is a form of government in which the executive power is concentrated in the figure of the president who is both the head of state and the head of government. It is a form of representative democracy based on the separation of powers and mutual control. Executive power is in the hands of the president who, once elected by the citizens, becomes head of state and government but does not have the possibility to dissolve the chambers. The independently elected parliament has legislative power but cannot discharge the president. This is the cardinal principle that guarantees the balance of presidentialism. Finally, the judiciary is independent, but directed by a Supreme court appointed by the head of state. Among the countries that have a presidential system are the United States, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Costa Rica and South Korea.

The semi- presidential In the semi-presidential system, adopted, for example, in France, the President of the Republic is elected directly by the voters and holds a part of the executive power, without being subjected to a vote of confidence by the assembly, shared with the prime minister who must appoint and can revoke. Premier and government must obtain the trust of Parliament, while the head of state can dissolve the chambers in compliance with constitutional limits. Semi-presidentialism is usually chosen when the parliamentary system is undermined by a precarious majority and a less rigid line of presidentialism is to be adopted.

Differences between the different systems A single criterion is sufficient to discriminate on the level empirical presidential systems from parliamentary ones. In the former, the head of government is elected for a fixed term and cannot be disheartened by the members of the legislative assembly. In the latter, the head of the government can be replaced at any time by the majority of the legislative assembly.

In presidential regimes, the fixed duration of the mandate of the head of government presupposes his popular investiture or in any case a separate investiture with respect to that of the members of parliament, who are in turn guaranteed a term of duration fixed, i.e. not subject to early elections. Parliament cannot discourage the president, but maintains greater autonomy from the executive in carrying out its legislative and control functions. President and parliament balance each other, since one cannot make the other fall, but the conflict between the political positions of those who control the two institutions can lead to a real paralysis of the decision-making process.

As for parliamentary regimes, the merger of mandates implies that the members of the chambers can remain in office until the natural expiry of their mandate only to the extent that they are able to guarantee support for some government. If they decree the crisis of the government in office but are unable to support an alternative one, their mandate is also interrupted and the vote is returned. As happened this summer in Italy.

So the parliament is ultimately sovereign: it can discourage and replace the premier when it wants, even if it is difficult, but not impossible, for the majority parliamentarians to vote against the proposals government law. The prime minister must take into account the demands of currents and allied parties when choosing ministers, but if he is the leader of a party that controls the parliamentary majority alone, he can usually get the approval of laws consistent with his program, if necessary. explicitly posing a question of trust.

Systems in the European Union Excluding the six constitutional monarchies (Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden) where the head of state is the monarch appointed on the basis of a hereditary system, of the twenty-one republican member states of the European Union, only one is a presidential republic (Cyprus) and four are semi-presidential republics (France, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania). In these systems, the president of the republic is elected by direct popular vote, as happens in some parliamentary republics, where, however, the head of state maintains only guarantee and non-executive functions. This is the case in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, while in Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Malta the president is elected by the parliament or other representative body. as special as the German federal assembly, the Bundesversammlung.

The semi-presidential in France France is a semi-presidential republic in which executive power is shared by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister. The former is directly elected by the people and appoints the latter on the basis of the electoral result. The president is elected by direct universal suffrage in two rounds. To be elected in the first round you need an absolute majority of votes; if none of the candidates obtain it, the two who received the highest number of consents in the first round go to the second round. With this system an absolute majority is always guaranteed to the elected president.

The vote for the president and the parliament is separate. A cohabitation between a president of a party and an opposite majority is therefore possible, although after the reform that harmonized the length of the presidential mandate and the legislature, bringing both to 5 years, the possibility is rarer. The last cohabitation of the Fifth Republic took place between 1997 and 2002 between the neo-Galilist president Jacques Chirac and the socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin.

The president holds real political power, especially in the field of foreign policy , is head of diplomacy and the armed forces, chairs the Council of Ministers and is partly responsible for the executive power, as well as chairing the Higher Defense Council and the Higher Council for the Judiciary. The most important power of the president is to appoint the prime minister, conditioned by the legislative result. The powers of the president can be classified into exclusive and shared. The latter are shared with the government, ie the acts exercised in these areas must be countersigned by the prime minister and, if necessary, by the ministers responsible.

The exclusive powers of the president include: recourse to the referendum upon proposal of the government or of the chambers, the right to dissolve the Assembly, the appointment of three members and the president of the Constitutional Council and the control of preventive constitutional legitimacy (can ask the Constitutional Council for further review of a law before promulgation) . On the other hand, the main shared powers include: the appointment and dismissal of ministers on the proposal of the Prime Minister, the promulgation of laws approved by the Council of Ministers; the negotiation and ratification of international treaties. Finally, a last and extremely important power is that in the event of a national emergency the President assumes full powers and can legislate by decree.

The proposal for semi-presidentialism in Italy In Italy, the latest proposal for revision constitutional in the presidential sense was made by far-right and center-right parties in 2018, but without success. Given that in the 2022 program of the coalition composed of Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d'Italia there is only talk of "direct election of the President of the Republic", without any clarification, it is likely that these political forces are therefore based on the 2018 proposal. br>
That bill, however, while providing for the direct election of the head of state, maintained the relationship of trust with the parliament, thus proposing a semi-presidential system and not pure presidentialism, mixing French and German systems. Under the proposal, the president of the Republic, elected directly, would not have been a strictly party to the government, but, as in France, would have appointed the prime minister, presided over the Council of Ministers and directed the general policy of the government, while in France this direction belongs to the prime minister.

Germany, on the other hand, would have taken the "constructive distrust", for which the parliament cannot discourage the government, without giving contextual confidence to a new executive. However, Germany is a parliamentary system, where neither the federal president nor the head of government are directly elected by the citizens, and distrust can only be voted by the lower house (the Bundestag), while, under the proposal, in Italy it would be the vote of only one of the two chambers was enough.

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