Italy Politics in the 21st Century Part I

According to TRANSPORTHINT, the first decade of the new century was characterized by a clear contrast between the two center-right and center-left camps in the context of a political scenario burdened by recurrent tensions between the parties belonging to the same coalition and by an exasperated personalization of politics: a phenomenon linked largely to the figure and role of S. Berlusconi, to the consents and dissensions conveyed to him. Neither party has managed to initiate a coherent, let alone shared, reform process and the alternation in government has resulted, in many cases, in the cancellation of regulations passed by the previous majority. Some basic issues of the country remained unsolved, such as widespread corruption, the inadequacy of the ruling classes,

The affirmation of the center-right. – After the center-right in the 2000 regional elections conquered eight of the fifteen regions with ordinary statutes, the Prime Minister M. D’Alema resigned, giving way to another center-left government, led by G. Amato, who brought the constitutional revision law into effect (2001) aimed at modifying the state order in a federalist sense by expanding the competences of the regions (in matters of health, education, work, industry, public works, agriculture, tourism) and extending the autonomy of municipalities, metropolitan areas and provinces. The success of the center-right was also confirmed in the 2001 general elections, which sanctioned the clear victory of the House of liberties (CdL), which in addition to Forza Italia included the National Alliance, the Biancofiore – which brought together CCD and Christian Democrats united ( CDU; unified since 2002 in the Union of Christian Democrats and Center, UDC) – and the Northern League. Supported by a large majority, the government has stepped up its legislative initiative by repeatedly clashing with opposition forces, especially over reforms concerning the judiciary and education, while government plans to revive the economy by making the market more flexible. work, met with firm opposition from the union. Other divisions, transversal to political alignments, have arisen on the issue of the regulation of medically assisted procreation between the proponents of a broader liberalization and those who, on the other hand, believed it necessary to place strict limits on a widespread practice, also referring to the teaching of the Catholic Church. Approved in 2004, the law was harshly criticized by many, but the referendum then promoted to repeal some parts did not obtain the necessary quorum. The now long-standing issue of conflict of interest remained open despite the approval of a regulatory law in July 2004, which established the incompatibility of the holder of government offices with the management, but not with the mere ownership of companies, rejecting the hypothesis of sale or fiduciary management and entrusting the possible emergence of the conflict of interest to a specific authority. In foreign policy, the Berlusconi government has decidedly deployed the country alongside the United States, hit by the very serious attacks of 11 September 2001, and sent a military contingent to the war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, obtaining the support of the center left. The choice to align with the policies of G. Bush and T. Blair that culminated in the war on Iraq (March 2003) has raised tensions and friction with other members of the European Union (such as France and Germany), more critical of the initiatives Anglo-American. In 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, a peacekeeping force was sent to the country under a UN mandate, a decision that divided Italian public opinion as well as political forces. While the center-right government concluded its five-year term without being able to carry out structural interventions, nor to liberalize the economy, to reduce public spending, to relaunch competitiveness as it was in the assumptions of its free-market options, in anticipation of the 2006 elections went on to define a new candidacy of R. Prodi at the helm of a large center-left coalition. The elections were held according to the new proportional-based electoral law approved in 2005, which combines the abolition of single-member constituencies and the return to proportional representation, without the possibility of indicating preferences, with a majority prize attributed to the winning coalition, calculated at national for the Chamber and on a regional basis for the Senate. Membership of the coalition neutralizes the barrier placed on unrelated lists (4% in the Chamber, 8% in the Senate) thus facilitating the proliferation of small groups.

The Prodi government. – The center-left line-up (which included in addition to the Margherita and the left-wing Democrats, the radical left, the Italy of values ​​by A. Di Pietro, the Democratic Union for Europe by C. Mastella, and other minor formations) won the 2006 elections, albeit with a small majority and, after the election of Giorgio Napolitano (DS) as President of the Republic, Prodi formed the new executive.

The Prodi government