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C OMPARATIVE G OVERNMENT I TALY : C ONSTITUTION AND I NSTITUTIONS From Chapter 23: Governance and Policymaking 1. How are Italian governments created? How common are confidence motions in Italy’s system? How else can a government fail? What happens when the Prime Minister does not command a majority? How has the change in Italy’s party system since 1994 affected this equation? Governments must command a majority in each of Parliament’s two chambers. Following an election, the president consults party leaders and designates the most likely prime minister. This designee constructs a cabinet by consulting leaders of various parties that support the proposed government. The entire cabinet, not just the prime minister, must win the confidence of both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Governments are sworn in and remain in office until they no longer command Parliament’s confidence, or, much more common, the support of the governing coalition. Confidence motions are extremely rare , having only occurred once since 1946 (Romano Prodi in 1998). When the prime minister no longer commands a majority, he notifies the president, who can choose the incumbent or someone else to form a new government. If no coalition then obtains a majority or if Parliament’s five year term ends, the president dissolves the legislature and calls general elections, which must be held within a maximum of ten weeks of dissolution ( Article 61 ). Since 1993, Italy has had a mixed single-member and proportional system. In the Chamber of Deputies, three-fourths of the 630 seats are assigned on a first-past-the- post basis; the remaining quarter are determined by proportional representation lists. The law is less permissive than the old: parties must get at least 4 percent of the vote to obtain any seats from the PR lists. Otherwise, their votes go into a pool that is distributed to those garnering 4 percent of votes. The major motivation for the reform was to reduce the number of parties and force the emergence of clear-cut coalitions. The change forced parties to construct alliances before elections. Since 1994, then, it has been a foregone conclusion that the leader of the winning coalition will be the new prime minister. 2. Did the framers of the Italian constitution succeed in achieving collective responsibility within the government? How does coalition government affect the power of the Prime Minister? What powers does the PM have over members of the cabinet? How is the Prime Minister’s relationship with the Cabinet different from other systems we’ve studied? No.
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This test prep was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PSCI 000 taught by Professor Hongkong during the Spring '07 term at Mary Washington.

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