Studia Politica, vol. XIII, no. 4, 2013
Studia Politica. Romanian Political Science Review, vol. XIII, no. 4, 2013
ITALY AFTER THE 2013 ELECTIONS
Edited by ALEXANDRA IONESCU and SORINA SOARE
ALEXANDRA IONESCU, SORINA SOARE, Foreword (p. 593)
SORINA SOARE, ALEXANDRA IONESCU, Democracy and Parties in Italy after the 2013 Legislative Elections (pp. 597-602)
The article provides a condensed overview of Italian politics on the eve of the 2013 elections, underlining the major changes affecting the format and the mechanics of the Italian party politics since the collapse of the First Republic.
Italy, parties, elections, First/Second Republic, electoral law
Party Names and Abbreviations (p. 603)
GIANFRANCO PASQUINO, Democracy at Stake (pp. 605-616)
Governmental instability, though a persistent feature of Italian politics, cannot be interpreted as an indicator that there always was a crisis of democracy in Italy. Very often there were, and there are, problems of functioning: crises within democracy. This article argues that Italian parties have been responsible for the appearance, the existence, and the evolution of Italian democracy. The collapse of the party system and the disappearance of all major parties between 1992 and 1994 have strongly and negatively affected the working of Italian democracy. The electoral system has been twice reformed with very poor results. There is an on-going institutional transition that is the cause and consequence of an impressive reallocation of political and institutional powers among all-important institutions: the Presidency of the Republic, the government, Parliament, and the judicial system mainly, the Constitutional Court. Unless Italian parties restructure themselves and a decent bipolar competition redefines the party system, the functioning of Italian democracy will be ”at stake” and its quality will remain unsatisfactory.
Parties and party system, Presidency of the Republic, institutions, governmental instability, regime transition, democracy.
MARCO VALBRUZZI, Not a Normal Country: Italy and its Party Systems (pp. 617-640)
This article is devoted to the analysis of the unusual trajectory of Italian parties and party systems from the end of World War II to the 2013 general election, when an oversized coalition of three parties, with the crucial support of the President of the Republic, formed a so-called ”broad agreements” government. This article will not retell the story of the passage from the First to an alleged Second Republic, for the simple fact that this transition never actually took place. Italy changed the format and, above all, the mechanics of its party system in the mid-1990s, but it has never significantly changed the Constitution and the functioning of its main political institutions. If the label ”Second Republic” is designed to describe the transition from a constitutional structure to something else, that ”Second” republic never existed. This article will describe the history of this ”phantom” republic, and it will also analyse the evolution (or devolution) of the Italian party systems.
Italy, party system, critical elections, dealignment, destructuration.
ALESSANDRO CHIARAMONTE, NICOLA MAGGINI, The 2013 Election Results. Protest Voting and Political Stalemate (pp. 641-658)
The economic crisis, the fall of the Berlusconi’s cabinet in November 2011 and the formation of the technocratic cabinet led by Mario Monti provided the ground for the general elections held in February 2013, which reached a stalemate, contrary to what most observers expected. The center-left coalition won in the Chamber but not in the Senate. The result in the Senate made it impossible to form a majority coalition between Bersani’s left and Monti’s center, which many considered the most likely outcome of these elections. In the end, the only available option for the PD, the winner in the Chamber, was to form a cabinet with Berlusconi’s PdL. There are many factors explaining this destabilizing result. The first and most important is the success of a brand new anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, which attracted voters from across the political spectrum and became the largest party in the country. The second is the inability of the center-left not only to extend its electoral base at a time when the center-right lost almost half of the votes received in 2008, but also to keep its previous electorate. The third factor is the peculiar nature and functioning of the electoral system for the Senate.
2013 Italian elections, Five Star Movement, electoral volatility, electoral system, vote shifts
GIORGIA BULLI, Electoral Campaigning in the Italian 2013 Elections. Innovation and Tradition (pp. 659-673)
The Italian electoral campaign in the 2013 general elections is marked by an incomplete evolution of Italian political communication towards a professionalized market-oriented model. In these elections an increased use of the Internet and the social media coexisted with a more traditional understanding of political communication. The electoral success of the Movimento Cinque Stelle led by Beppe Grillo shows that the hybridization of traditional and post-modern communication can be effective in the exploitation of anti-political and antiparty feelings, particularly widespread among the Italian electorate in the 2013 elections. However, just where this development is headed is still a moot question and leaves the field for further investigation open.
Political communication, political marketing, strategy, campaigning, Internet.
FABIO BORDIGNON, LUIGI CECCARINI, The 5 Star People and the Unconventional Parliament (pp. 675-692)
Upon its debut in the February 2013 Italian General Election, the Five Star Movement (M5S), led by former comedian Beppe Grillo, managed to become a major political force in the Italian political system, upsetting the bipolar structure that had existed for nearly twenty years. This article uses the concepts of populism and anti-politics to explore the idea and practice of democracy promoted by the M5S and its leader. Focusing on the first months spent in public office by 5 Star representatives, it analyses the effects of the Movement on the system, and the effects of the system on the Movement. The outcome of this crucial transition seems to be twofold: on the one hand, a process of (partial and complicated) institutionalization of the Movement itself; and on the other, simultaneous traces of de-institutionalization of the institutions, through the affirmation of practices and a style of political action that evoke the image of an ”unconventional” Parliament.
e-politics, leadership, 5 Star Movement, Grillo, populism
MARCO TARCHI, What’s Left of the Italian Right? (pp. 693-709)
The presence of a well-established neo-fascist party, the MSI, and the absence of a legitimate conservative Right has been considered for long time one of the anomalies of the Italian party system. The birth in 1995 from the ashes of the MSI of a new more moderate party, Alleanza Nazionale, and its rise to power in Berlusconi’s 1994 and 2001 cabinets has been interpreted as the sign of a new era of success for the Italian Right. Nevertheless, four years after the dissolution of Alleanza Nazionale into the Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà, the list led by the former AN leader, Gianfranco Fini, and the other ”post-fascist” lists gathered in the whole, at the 2013 general elections, only 3.3% of the vote and only 9 deputies. This article tries to explain the main factors both of the sudden rise and the unexpected decline of this political family.
Italy, party system, right wing parties, post-fascism, Alleanza Nazionale
MAURO CALISE, Into the Third Republic. Parties without Presidents (and Presidents without Parties)(pp. 711-717)
The record of the last twenty years shows that most of the hopes put in the Second republic have been betrayed. Rather than a two party system reproducing the Westminster model, Italy has nurtured two highly fragmented coalitions, which have, in the latest national elections, been outplayed by a third pole, the protest movement of Beppe Grillo. The result is a tri-polar system, where a parliamentary majority can only be obtained by pulling together two bitterly antagonistic parties, with very little, if any, governmental stability. This article explains why the Second Republic failed to meet the expectations of the reform movement which strived to set Italian politics on a better track. It outlines how the main features of the emerging regime – the so-called Third republic – reflect, as it is often the case, the legacies of the previous one.
Italy, parties, electoral reform, populist vote.
ALEXANDRU GUSSI, Political Uses of Memory and the State in Post-communism (pp. 721-732)
The new identities of political parties, civil society, intellectual circles and schools after 1989 have been fundamentally rooted in the discursive and representational processing of the communist past. Compared to the German model of uncompromising condemnation of the Nazi past or the Spanish model of consensual oblivion, the countries in Eastern Europe provided a new model, structured on a top down trajectory, of instrumental cleavage. The paradox lies in the fact that the ideological consensus over the type of the future society makes impossible the consensus over the means of condemning the old society. As the cleavage over the communist past remains a central issue of social and political dissent, the notion of truth remains politically contingent. In Romania, which is not necessarily an exception, we see the remarkable phenomenon by which the classical conflict between the positive and negative perspectives of the recent past is substituted by a conflict revolving around the legitimacy of the postcommunist state and its political elite.
Communism, memory, past, post-communism, democratization
LUCIANA ALEXANDRA GHICA, Beyond Regional Integration? Social Constructivism, Regional Cohesiveness and the Regionalism Puzzle (pp. 733-752)
In this paper I deconstruct the foundations of regional integration and propose a social constructivist reconstruction of the ontological field of regionalism. More specifically, I first show that regions are notions not only of space but also of time and culture. Then, I reconstruct its related conceptual field (regionalism, regionalization, regional identity etc.), arguing that regional integration is an incomplete category of regionalism. Within this framework and as an alternative to regional integration, I build the concept of regional cohesiveness defined as the degree to which a group of actors inhabiting a contiguous space act and represent themselves as a group. This analytical model builds a multidimensional space for comprehensively mapping and exploring all forms of contemporary regionalism, from both institutional and normative/representational perspectives.
Conceptual innovation, regionalism, regional cohesiveness, regional integration, social constructivism
JEAN-MICHEL EYMERI-DOUZANS, GEERT BOUCKAERT (eds.), La France et ses administrations. Un état des savoirs/France and its Public Administrations. A State of the Art, Bruylant, Brussels, 2013 (ALEXANDRA IONESCU) (pp. 755-765)
ALEX MINTZ, KARL DEROUEN Jr., Understanding Foreign Policy Decision-Making, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2010 (VALENTIN-GABRIEL BUDĂU) (pp. 766-767)
SABINA-ADINA LUCA, Identitatea socioculturală a tinerilor, Institutul European, Iaşi, 2010; SABINA-ADINA LUCA (coord.), Tânăr în România. Noi valori, noi identităţi, Institutul European, Iaşi, 2013 (DRAGOŞ DRAGOMAN) (pp. 768-771).