Politics in Italy (Brian Anhalt)

Politics in Italy have been especially interesting this semester in Rome with the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi. After almost twenty years in Italian politics, Berlusconi resigned last month, after it became apparent he had lost his majority control. Berlusconi had been unable to address to the difficult economic situation in Italy. From 2007 to 2011, their economy shrank by 6.67%. This has recently reawakened the debate over the future of the Euro. With Italy playing an important part of the Euro economy, it becoming somewhat uncertain that Italy will able to continue to use the Euro and as a result, the future of the Euro has been somewhat uncertain. To try and improve economic conditions, Mario Monti was chosen as the next prime minister. Mario Monti is an economist and academic and assumed office on November 16th. He was appointed by the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. They expect him to implement reforms and austerity measures. On December 5th, Mario Monti presented an austerity package, titled “Save Italy”, to parliament consisting of tax rises, pension reforms, and incentives for growth.

The political system of Italy is far different from the US in that it is parliamentary system. Furthermore, it has only been a democratic republic since 1946. The president is elected by the lawmakers. The president’s power and influence on legislation is limited compared to the prime minister. With the president staying out of political debate, the head of the government is the prime minister. However, the president does appoint the prime minister after each general election occurs. In comparison to other European countries, Italy’s prime minster has less power. There are two houses within parliament. The Senate of the Republic has 315 members, while the Chamber of Deputies has 630 members. Twelve of the deputies and six of the senators are for Italians living abroad. The Senate also has life senators. These consist of former presidents and five members appointed by the president.

Brian Anhalt is studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.

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