Government of Italy

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Italy is a nation comprising 25 smaller member states. The union was formed in 1933, and at first was only a collaboration in defensive matters, foreign affairs, as well as criminal and commercial law. It soon became apparent that a stronger central government was needed. As Italy was and is a free associated union, it was and is up to the individual nations to cede their rights as they see best.

Contents

Head of State

The Head of State is a monarch elected by the Court of Princes for life. All the Heads of State of the participating members are participatory in the Court of Princes. The Kings, Grand Dukes, Dukes, and Archdukes may elect and be elected. The Princes, the Marquess, and the Lord may not vote but may be elected. The Presidents, the Patriarch and the Metropolitan Dukes may vote but may not be elected. The elected Monarch must be 21 years or older, sane and literate, and may not be the child or heir of the previous Monarch.

The Monarch may veto any legislation he or she feels to disrupt the general welfare of the people. Vetoes may be overridden by a two-third vote in both legislative Houses. The monarch may also suspend the constitution if the general welfare of the people is in an imminent risk, for no more than 90 days. After this 90-day period the monarch has to explain his or her reasons to Parliament and his or her actions must be backed in a referendum by more than two-thirds of the electorate.

Executive Branch

Italy's day-to-day executive functions are carried out by an elected Chancellor. The Chancellor appoints a Cabinet of Ministers. The Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Defense automatically become Senators–by–right. The Ministers of the Treasury, Interior Affairs, and Commerce automatically become Deputees–by–right.

Though the Federal government originally only dealt with Foreign Affairs, Defense, Criminal and Commercial Law, the nations may, after a referendum, cede responsibilities to the Federal Government. Other Ministries that have been created since 1933 include (in brackets year of establishment): Labor (1934); Public Works (1934); Transport and Telecommunications (1937); Education (1938) ; Housing and Urban Affairs (1938); Health and Nutrition (1941); Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (1946); Health (1948); Development and Public Participation (1949); Information and Government Relations (1952); Industry (1956); Culture (1960); Economy and Finance (1968); Social Security (1968); Social Affairs (1968); Equal Opportunities (1968); Environment (1972); Public Service (1977); Tourism (1981); Cultural and Environmental Heritage (1996); Science and Technology (2000).

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch of Government is the Parliament and is divided into the Senate and the Chamber of the Deputees. The Parliament's President is elected every two years by those who did not vote in favour of the Presidents of the Senate or the Chamber of Deputees.

Senate

The Senate is made up of 7 different "Courts". All seven courts meet only upon the death of the Head of State. Not all courts take an active part in the legislative process nor are they needed. They include:

The Court of Princes

Constituted by all the Heads of Nation of each nation. The Court of Princes meet to elect the Federal Monarch, and ad-hoc (when at least one third of the court requests it) to discuss major constitutional changes or dynastic issues.

The Court of Magistrates

Composed of 108 representatives chosen to oversee the judicial system. One third of its members (a total of 36) are elected by practicing judges, one sixth by fiscal (state) lawyers, one sixth by private lawyers and one third by the Chamber of Deputees for 3 year terms in rotation. They may be reelected. They appoint all the judges and primary fiscal lawyers, they check the work of the judiciary branch and its members, and they give legal counsel to the executive branch, the other Senatorial Courts, and the Chamber of Deputees.

The Court of the Wise

Composed of 12 members with membership for life. Members are reappointed by the monarch, not later than 24 hours after the announcement of the death of a previous member, from a list of "Wise in waiting". Membership to this list is required to be appointed. The monarch announces annually a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 20 persons to be added on this list. Membership to the Court is compatible with any other public office. This Court is the official voice of the monarch, its use largely depends on the monarch.

The Court of the Elders

This court does not physically exist as its members sit in the Legislative Chamber of the Senate. They may not vote on financial matters. Membership is for life (unless if it is because of a failed election - those candidates to the chancellorship who lost in but obtained at least 5% of the vote) and is considered incompatible with other public offices, as a position in the Court of Elders is considered a full-time job. For this reason, there are currently only 16 members, out of a total of 30 possible. Membership is available to all former Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, Ministers of Justice, Treasury, Foreign Affairs, Interior Affairs, Defence and Commerce, Chiefs of Staff, Ambassadors to the Holy See, Heads of the Italian Royal Household, Presidents of the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court and the Court of Accounts, Postmaster Generals, Fiscal Generals, Presidents of Parliament, Presidents of the Senate and Presidents of the Chamber of Deputees once they have left their office. Members of the Court of Elders are appointed by decree of the monarch, although appointees may decline to serve.

The Court of Chamberlains

This court takes its name from its original members who were the representatives of the Heads of State of the various nations that make up Italy. Since 1936 though, each Chancellor has been able to appoint 5 members per term in office, and the Monarch to appoint 2 members, changing annually. Furthermore, all titled nobles of Italy other than the Princes are members by right, as well as all willing the members of the monarch's family who are 21 years old or above, sane, and literate. Since 1976 membership has been extended to all former ministers and ambassadors. Membership is compatible with other public offices. This Court's function is to offer counsel on proposed legislation. The counsel may be rejected and is non-binding. It is up to its members to establish working groups, committees and meeting to inform the rest of the legislators of their counsel. Physically it resembles more a library than an arena. The Secretary of the court reads in the centre of the chamber the proposed legislation, and its members (in groups or individually) decide the cause of action. Usually they have only up to 2 weeks to formulate their ideas and present them to the Court in question.

The Court of Delegates

This is another court that doesn't physically exist, as it forms about a third of the Senate Legislative Chamber with its 135 members. Each national government appoints a Delegate for a 2-year renewable term. Each national parliament elects a minimum of 1 Delegate for a 2-year renewable term. The former take office on even years and the latter on odd years.

The Court of Representatives

The Court of Representatives is constituted by 172 members directly elected by the citizens of the nation in uninomal constituencies for 5-year terms, that constitute the bulk of the Senate Legislative Chamber. Each nation has at least one representative, the others being divided amongst the different nations taking into consideration population, land area and share of GDP. The constituencies are redrawn as possible every 10 years.

Chamber of Deputees

Elected for 4 year terms, two-thirds of the 145-member Chamber are elected by a party-list system from candidates within each member nation.

The other third is elected in the same way but on a state level – that is, party lists that are the same for the entire country.

No member of one party may switch to another, without leaving the Chamber, and consequently stopping his representation. When someone dies or leaves office, the candidate with the next most votes takes office. If all the list's members have already at some point taken office then the party whose name was listed decides on a substitute. That person must be investigated by the government prior to taking office.

Judiciary Branch

The Judiciary's upper tier courts are the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Tribunal and the Court of Accounts. All the members of the Judiciary are appointed by the Court of Magistrates, previously described. The offices of the Judiciary are incompatible with other public offices except for members of the Courts of the Princes, the Wise and the Elders.

The Constitutional Tribunal only deals with problems related to the Constitution, it cannot repeal a sentence, but can force for new trials and invalidate legislation. Its President is appointed for 16–year renewable terms. Its 4 members are appointed for 14–year renewable terms.

The Supreme Tribunal is the supreme court of appeal in the state. Its President is appointed for 15–year non-renewable terms. Its members are appointed for 10–year renewable terms.

The Court of Accounts analyses all the public accounts and surveys private finances upon request from other courts. Its President is appointed for 14 – year renewable terms and its 4 members for 10–year renewable terms.

There are 3 High Courts of Appeals. Their Presidents are appointed for 12–year renewable terms, whilst its members are appointed for 8–year renewable terms.

See Also

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