Government Formation in Italy: The Challenge of Bicameral Investiture

Bjørn Erik Rasch, Shane Martin, and José Antonio Cheibub edited a book on the role of parliaments in government formation. The book covers several countries, and the introduction can be read here. I wrote the chapter on Italy, where I assessed the effect of formal and informal rules on the type of governments which were in office since 1948. Perhaps the constitutional reform now under discussion in Parliament will dramatically change  the government formation process, abolishing the peculiar bicameral investiture procedure that has been in force until now.  In that case I will be happy to write an update.


New article published on CIP

In these days Sky Italia is broadcasting “1992”, an intriguing story set in the Italian politics of the early Nineties. Looking back at that period we all wondered how far Italy has changed in the last two decades. For most of us the answer is probably “not enough”.

My latest article is not as engaging as the thriller based on an idea of Stefano Accorsi, but nonetheless it has something in common with “1992”. In this work I analyze how parliamentary politics has changed in the last twenty years, and whether the majoritarian revolution that was promised then has actually taken place.



New article published on POLIS

In this article, co-authored with my friends Filippo Tronconi and Luca Verzichelli, we analyze the Italian Parliament as it emerged from the 2013 elections.

Snipers and Switchers. The Difficulties of Parliamentary Representation in the Italian XVII Legislature

The elections of February 2013 have brought significant changes to the landscape of Italian politics and to the Italian parliament, both in the format of the party system and in the characters of individual representatives. The raise of a new and innovative political force (the Movimento 5 Stelle) and an exceptional parliamentary turnover (two out of three Members of parliament have been elected for the first time) are the most evident signs of the magnitude of this political earthquake. This article aims, in first place, to depict the main elements of discontinuity of the representative process after the last elections. After that, the consequences of such change are explored in four domains of legislative behaviour: the election of the three highest officials of the republican institutions (the President of the Republic and the Presidents of the two chambers), the fluidity of partisan organizations in parliament, the degree of party unity in legislative voting, and cross-party cooperation in legislative drafting. We conclude presenting some (pessimistic) reflections on the prospects for a consolidation of the present political scenario and the institutionalization of an efficient representative process in the near future.


New article published on the RISP

The title of the article, co-authored with Maurizio Cotta, is “Beyond euroscepticism and europhilia: Multiple views about Europe“.

Here is the abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to map the structure of preferences concerning the European Union held by parliamentarians of the member states. The opinions of national politicians are relevant as they influence the governments which participate in the institutions and the decision making processes of the Union. Do they evaluate the European integration process according to a single independence-integration dimension? Or do they acknowledge the existence of multiple lines of conflict? Is the structure of preferences stable? Finally, how are national parliamentarians grouped according to their preferences and what this can tell about the future of European Integration? This paper, based on a two waves survey of national parliamentarians belonging to 16 member states, analyses their views about the governance system and the policy goals of the EU. The findings of this paper shed some new light on several old questions. Firstly, while several studies assume that the preferences about European Integration can be ordered in a one-dimensional continuum that has the status quo and complete integration as the two opposite poles, this paper shows that the preferences of national parliamentarians have a multi-dimensional structure. Secondly it moves to analyse the four main clusters of national parliamentarians which these preferences generate. And thirdly it discusses how these clusters react to different problems and challenges the EU faces today.