Italy – Politics
Western political system has been shaped by two populations mainly: ancient Greeks and Romans.
The Greek Poleis gave birth to the idea of democracy, literally translated as power to the people; the Roman Empire instead put the base of the current law system.
Unlike what most people think, the Italian Republic is kind of a new Country, born in 1946 after the end of the Kingdom of Italy, born in 1861.
After World War II Italy was a wreck, had just been through Fascism and the newly constituted Parliament, pushed by civil discontent, led to an institutional referendum: people voted if they wanted to abandon Monarchy and form a Democratic Republic. The outcome was clear.
That Parliament then was in charge of writing a Constitutional Paper, that could reflect the values of a new born Country, that like a phoenix could rise from its ashes. The main values are: the person and the integrity, work, dignity, freedom and equality, democracy, ethics, legality; not forgetting, moreover, that duties (as well as rights) must also be considered in the range of values; and among these, solidarity and participation (understood as a right and a duty) stand out.
This process makes the Italian Constitution one of the youngest Constitutions in Europe, often called “The Old Continent”, due to its secular political history and traditions.
It was built on values that put the person, along with rights and duties, under the spotlight, fully protecting and respecting personal choices, beliefs and behaviors.
Something that during over 20 years of Fascism Italy was lacking of.
Regions of Italy
Besides the obvious division of the islands, Sardinia and Sicily, from the mainland, Italy is divided in 20 regions, where 5 of these regions have a special autonomous status that enables and grants them to enact special legislation on additional and extraordinary matters.
In the past most of these regions were part of a bigger Kingdom, that had a different dialect and very different traditions, that now led Italy to have a broad variety on many points of its culture.
This of course has a reflection on the political system, as every part of Italy has regional elections, a regional government and regional representatives.
As above mentioned, 5 regions (Sicily, Sardinia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Aosta Valley and Friuli Venezia Giulia) have a special autonomous status, due to their history and characteristics:
– They are separated from the mainland, like the two Islands;
– After World War II a lot of separatist movements were pushing for independence and the Central Government preferred to give autonomy to guarantee National cohesion;
– Some regions had linguistic minorities, where languages like French or German are spoken;
– Giving autonomy also means giving more power to the regions that are sharing the borders with foreign Countries.
(Forbidding) Fascism Apology
The Italian modern political system was built upon the end of Fascism after the Second World War, deeply shaped by the two. Over 20 years of authoritarian regime have pushed the founding Fathers of the Italian Republic to not only move from a Monarchy to a Democracy, but also to include inside its Constitution a way to fight any kind of extremism, especially Fascism.
The bill states that when an association, a political party, a movement or, in any case, a group of at least five people pursue anti-democratic idea by glorifying, threatening or using violence as a method of political struggle or advocating the suppression of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution or denigrating democracy, its institutions and the values of the Resistance, or carrying out racist propaganda, or turns its activity to glorifying exponents, principles, facts and methods specific to the aforementioned party or makes external manifestations of a fascist nature can be legally prosecuted.
A lot of founding Fathers were Partisans, forming the Resistance that fought against Fascism and Nazism to end World War II along with the Allies.
Has Italy really come to terms with its fascist past?
In all Democratic Countries the Constitution is the most important document that aggregates the fundamental principles, the legal basis of a polity, organization and other kinds of entities and how they have to be governed.
In the Italian Constitution, that reflects the will of the its population to stop war to any extent, is stated that Italy disown/abjure/renounce (in one Italian word ripudia) the war as an instrument to offense the freedom of other populations and as a resolution tool to end a conflict.
Doesn’t happen by chance that the Ministry that regulates the Army is the Ministry of Defence, instead of War/Offence like in many other Countries (most of them non-Democratic).
Modern, democratic and Republican Italy was born from the ashes of a Totalitarianism that used violence as the main suppression tool, both internally and externally, and the mere fact that on its fundamental principles there’s written, in short, -war no more- says everything about Italy and Italians.