I principali elementi del testo di riforma costituzionale
Il principale elemento caratterizzante l’intervento di riforma riguarda il superamento del bicameralismo perfetto: il Parlamento continuerà ad articolarsi in Camera dei deputati e Senato della Repubblica, ma i due organi avranno composizione diversa e funzioni in gran parte differenti.
Alla Camera dei deputatidi cui non è modificata la composizione – spetta la titolarità del rapporto fiduciario e della funzione di indirizzo politico, nonché il controllo dell’operato del Governo.
Il Senato della Repubblica (che mantiene la denominazione vigente) diviene organo ad elezione indiretta, sede di rappresentanza delle istituzioni territoriali. Rispetto ai 315 senatori elettivi previsti dalla Costituzione vigente, il Senato sarà composto di 95 senatori eletti dai Consigli regionali – in conformità alle scelte espresse dagli elettori per i candidati consiglieri in occasione del rinnovo dei medesimi organi - tra i consiglieri regionali ed i sindaci del territorio, cui si aggiungono 5 senatori che possono essere nominati dal Presidente della Repubblica per 7 anni e gli ex Presidenti della Repubblica.
Al fine di adeguare il procedimento legislativo al nuovo assetto costituzionale caratterizzato da un bicameralismo differenziato, viene previsto un numero definito di leggi ad approvazione bicamerale. Per tutte le altre leggi è richiesta l’approvazione della sola Camera dei deputati: il Senato, al quale il testo approvato è immediatamente trasmesso, può disporre di esaminarle e le proposte di modifica
dallo stesso deliberate sono sottoposte all’esame della Camera dei deputati che si pronuncia in via definitiva. Per le leggi di attuazione della clausola di supremazia di cui al nuovo art. 117 della Costituzione è prevista una procedura “rinforzata”.
Nell’ambito del nuovo procedimento legislativo è introdotto l’istituto del “voto a data certa” che consente al Governo tempi definiti riguardo alle deliberazioni parlamentari relative ai disegni di legge ritenuti essenziali per l’attuazione del programma di governo. Al contempo, vengono “costituzionalizzati” i limiti alla decretazione d’urgenza, già previsti a livello di legislazione ordinaria e dalla giurisprudenza costituzionale.
Un’altra novità è costituita dall’introduzione del giudizio preventivo di legittimità costituzionale sulle leggi elettorali per la Camera e per il Senato e dalla modifica dei quorum per l’elezione del Presidente della Repubblica.
Al contempo, mutano le modalità di elezione dei cinque giudici della Corte costituzionale da parte del Parlamento: viene stabilito che essi siano eletti, separatamente, nel numero di tre dalla Camera dei deputati e nel numero di due dal Senato (anziché dal Parlamento in seduta comune).
Riguardo agli istituti di democrazia diretta, viene introdotto un nuovo quorum per la validità del referendum abrogativo nel caso in cui la richiesta sia stata avanzata da 800.000 elettori. In tale caso, il quorum è pari alla maggioranza dei votanti alle ultime elezioni della Camera. Resta fermo il quorum di validità attualmente previsto, pari alla maggioranza degli aventi diritto al voto, nel caso in cui la richiesta provenga da un numero di elettori compreso tra 500.000 e 800.000 o da cinque Consigli regionali. Sono inoltre introdotti nell’ordinamento i referendum propositivi e di indirizzo, la cui disciplina è affidata ad una apposita legge costituzionale.
Per l’iniziativa legislativa popolare, è elevato da 50 mila a 150 mila il numero di firme necessario per la presentazione di un progetto di legge da parte del corpo elettorale, introducendo al contempo il principio che ne deve essere garantito l’esame e la deliberazione finale (nei tempi, forme e limiti da definire nei regolamenti parlamentari).
Modifiche rilevanti riguardano infine il titolo V della parte II della Costituzione.
In particolare, di rilievo appare la soppressione del riferimento costituzionale alle province, in linea con il processo di riforma degli enti territoriali in atto.
Al contempo, il riparto di competenza legislativa tra Stato e regioniè ampiamente rivisitato. Viene soppressa la competenza concorrente, con una redistribuzione delle relative materie tra competenza esclusiva statale e competenza regionale. L’elenco delle materie di competenza esclusiva statale è, inoltre, profondamente modificato, con l’enucleazione di nuovi ambiti materiali. Di significativa rilevanza è infine l’introduzione della cosiddetta “clausola di supremazia”, che consente alla legge dello Stato, su proposta del Governo, di intervenire in materie di competenza regionale a tutela dell’unità giuridica o economica della Repubblica o dell’interesse nazionale. Sono altresì oggetto di modifica la disciplina del cd. regionalismo differenziato e del potere sostitutivo dello Stato nei confronti degli enti territoriali.
La revisione del titolo V non trova applicazione nei confronti delle Regioni a statuto speciale e delle Province autonome sino alla revisione dei rispettivi statuti, sulla base di intese con gli enti interessati.
La riforma prevede altresì la soppressione del CNEL.
Miami Herald, Dec. 2, 2016
By FRANCES D'EMILIO Associated PressROME
A voter referendum on changes to Italy's post-war Constitution scheduled for Sunday has turned into a virtual plebiscite on Premier Matteo Renzi's center-left government. Will Italy become the next Western country to turn on established political leaders? A rundown on what's at stake in the constitutional referendum:
NUTS AND BOLTS
Nearly 51 million Italians are eligible to cast ballots, ticking off "Yes" or "No" to whether they approve the proposed reforms hammered out by Parliament. Voting begins at 7 a.m. (0600 GMT) and ends at 11 p.m., (2200 GMT). Ballots already cast by Italians living abroad will be counted along with the Election Day tally.
WHAT WOULD THE REFORMS DO?
The biggest change would be to Italy's lumbering lawmaking process. The revised Constitution no longer would require both chambers of Parliament to vote on all legislation, including after each time a bill gets amended.
Instead, only the 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies would make most laws. The Senate would shrink from 315 to 100 members. Five would be appointed by Italy's president and the other 95 drawn from the ranks of Italy's mayors and regional representatives.
Confidence votes, which determine a ruling government's survival, also would be the exclusive province of the Chamber.
The other major reform transfers some authority from Italy's regions to the central government. Currently, jurisdictional disputes end up in Italy's slow-moving court system.
A recent example of the kind of tug-of-war the change is designed to address: Italy's Constitutional Court threw out a national law that would have made it easier to fire workers who punch time cards, then effectively don't go to work. The court said Renzi's government should have involved the regions in making the change.
YAYS AND NAYS
Renzi, his center-left allies, and banks and industrialists say the reforms would help modernize Italy. Opponents, including the populist 5-Star Movement, which is now the chief rival of Renzi's Democrats, contend the reforms would erode democracy by concentrating too much power in the premier's office.
Others urging voters to reject the amendments are former center-right Premier Silvio Berlusconi, hardliners with Communist roots who are now in Renzi's Democratic Party, and Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League, which wants regions to have more, not fewer, powers.
WHAT THE POLLS SAY:
By law, the last opinion polls were published on Nov. 14. The "No" camp was leading, but many voters were undecided.
BREXIT DEJA VU?
Renzi has ruefully confessed to making a big "mistake" by saying early on he'd tender his resignation if the "No" votes prevail. His pledge effectively transformed a straightforward vote on the reforms into an opportunity to send him packing.
Renzi argues the reforms would drastically reduce the so-called cozy "caste" of perk-enjoying politicians in Parliament. At age 41 the youngest prime minister to serve Italy, he depicts himself as anti-caste. But 5-Star co-founder, comic Beppe Grillo contends Renzi is himself part of the party system and thus, a caste member, too.
The "caste" mantra taps into a wave of populist anger rippling through much of Europe.
If he makes good on his earlier vow, Renzi would be expected to offer his resignation to Italy's head of state, President Sergio Mattarella. But Renzi has not always kept big promises. He barged his way into national power in early 2014 by ousting fellow Democrat Enrico Letta from the premiership, only days after promising he'd never take that office without elections.
WHO MIGHT REPLACE HIM?
Answer: Renzi. Since he heads the Democrats, Parliament's largest party, Mattarella could ask him to try to form a new government. A so-called "technocrat" government — made up of economists and other individuals from outside politics, might be even more unpalatable than Renzi Redux for many Italians.
The last "technocrat" premier was Mario Monti, a former EU commissioner, who prescribed harsh austerity measures to fix Italy's finances.
AND AFTER THAT?
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for the spring of 2018. While a political crisis might advance the date, many politicians in Italy are in no hurry.
As the election laws now stand, the party with the most votes gets a big bonus of seats in the Chamber of Deputies, a feature designed to encourage stability in a country long on short-living governments.
But after the populist Grillo's stunning wins in Rome and other mayoral races earlier this year, the 5-Stars are eager to take national power. So a post-referendum priority of Parliament would likely be tweaking the electoral law to minimize a potential 5-Star surge.
Frances D'Emilio is on twitter at a href='http://www.twitter.com/fdemilio%3c'www.twitter.com/fdemilio/a
This article provided thew basis for a discussion between Flora Sapio, me and Alessandro Sapio, a loose transcript of which follows.
Larry Catá Backer: The Italian Constitutional Referendum appears to provide an important political moment for Italy with repercussions for Europe as well. At least that is what is suggested in the press.
Flora Sapio: OK, I am discussing this article with my brother via chat. We do have different opinions on it. In his view, this is a very balanced and impartial article, which gives a clear picture of the referendum. I perceive some words as "lumbering legislative process" as having a negative connotation. I am in Germany (will travel back just in time to vote) and everyone is asking about the referendum. The referendum is, really, about constitutional reform.But, it is being portrayed as a vote of confidence towards Renzi, or towards the EU. This is a legitimate interpretation. Yet, this is only one of the possible interpretations of what is really going on with our constitutional reform. The reform touches upon not just one, but roughly 40 different points in our constitution, which are described here. They are difficult to understand to those not familiar with constitutional law, and I guess few people have the time to go through this 318 pages document, where everything is explained in detail (it's a very difficult text, that requires serious study).
Larry Catá Backer: But what about the European angle--its connection to Brexit and that sensibility?
Flora Sapio: The primary difficulty is the text of the Referendum itself. The constitutional reform is really, really complex. I have gone through that document four times already. It is very difficult to summarize in a few lines but, this has got nothing to do with an exit from the EU or the Euro.
A. Sapio: Flora, you're right, but the part about the "caste", "wither Renzi", "who might replace him"... are correct. Yes, nothing to do with Italexit or with Italian banks collapsing.
Flora Sapio: Reducing the Senate to 95+5 members who are not directly elected by our citizens does not mean reducing the elite (against whom some political parties have been campaigning), and it does not mean reducing the distance between the elite and those who are not within the elite, and have no opportunity to join the elite. "Whither Renzi"depends not on the referendum, but on the fact our Prime Minister promised to our nation he would take a certain course action, should electors vote in a certain way tomorrow. Who might replace any government, after a government crisis, or after the term of a government is over, are ordinary questions asked in any democratic system.
Larry Catá Backer: Yet Alessandro's point appears to be what is taken as the most important element of the process of constitutional reform and its greatest effects.
Flora Sapio: Indeed, in interviews with Asian news outlets, for example, this is their concern. But, again, this has got nothing to do with the EU or with our banking system.
Larry Catá Backer: But what about the echo of Brexit with the threat of the head of government ot resign if the reform fails?
A. Sapio: ""Whither Renzi"depends not on the referendum, but on the fact our Prime Minister promised to our nation he would take a certain course action, should electors vote in a certain way tomorrow." - definitely agree. Just a blackmail. "Renzi has ruefully confessed to making a big "mistake" by saying early on he'd tender his resignation if the "No" votes prevail."... yet he contradicted this by embarking onto an even more intensive campaigning.
Larry Catá Backer: Another matter that does not appear to resonate with the press is the consequences of presenting such a large and complex reform.
A. Sapio: Indeed, one scary thing about this reform: nobody really knows what conflicts will arise between the two chambers and between regions and the central government. The quality of law-making in this country has been going really down. Several laws passed by the current majority have been slashed by the constitutional court. Lot of uncertainty forthcoming if "yes" wins. "No" would mean: we keep the existing system, imperfect as it is, and a new Renzi or Renzi-like government is swiftly appointed.
Flora Sapio: The quality of law-making depends on the ability of those who write law to avoid legislative conflicts, the use of overly ambiguous language, to make sure that what you write in the law is actually doable etc. This ability must rest upon a deep knowledge of our legal system and on what one is legislating. The Senate was introduced at the end of the Fascist Era as part of our system of checks and balances to avoid the resurgence of any authoritarian government. Democratic governance is in may ways like free markets - it involves an element of risk and uncertainty. You've got courage - you take the risk.
Larry Catá Backer: And yet this risk taking is being undertaken essentially under the radar. And that is regrettable.
A. Sapio: Yes, Larry, it's really a pity that Italy's constitutional referendum has been paid little attention to in the US. Sure enough, Renzi's visit to the White House, Obama's endorsement, and opinions in the international financial press have been widely used as campaign weapons here in Italy. On the other hand, Italy is seen as a natural experiment to guess what Trump will do, based on Berlusconi's disastrous stints as Italian PM. However, compare Renzi's and Berlusconi's reactions to the constitutional court slashing some of their laws (let me paraphrase). B (as PM): "Government action is paralyzed by communist judges". R: "Government action is paralyzed by bureaucratic red tape". (the court = bureaucracy...!!!) And what about their campaign tones? B (in a previous campaign): "I can't believe so many a**holes would vote against their interests" R: "I can't understand why people don't get to the content of the reform and vote in their interest, and instead believe to the lies that the caste are telling"... as if information *as such* would dissipate any doubt on subtle and technical legal matters. Sure, if you apply transitivity (Trump --> Berlusconi --> Renzi) you lose something (e.g. in immigration policy, relationship with Russia) yet you also gain some understanding.
Larry Catá Backer: The connection between Messrs Trump, Renzi and Berlusconi is interesting. It likely can be extended to Mrs. Clinton as well, in the sense that elites always appear to hunt for votes by characterizing voting in this way.
A. Sapio: More on the B-R connection. Berlusconi's 2005 failed reform was openly transforming Italy's parliamentary democracy into a presidential one. Renzi's reform is more subtle on that, while sharing the same goal - less constraints on government action. B's bluntness scared off many leftists who now support R's attempt, who may therefore succeed. B himself contributed to drafting the present reform before walking out due to political calculus. He is now one of the leaders in the "no" camp, yet interestingly, his televisions are on the "yes" side. In fact, the "no" campaign may have been harmed by having B among its ranks.
Larry Catá Backer: Thank you both. We will pick this up on Tuesday!