Officially: Repubblica Italiana.
English: Italy.
Seat of government: Roma.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The parliament (Parlamento) comprises the Camera dei Deputati, elected in geographical constituencies, and the Senato, elected in the regions, both modified by party-list proportional represenatation. The prime minister (Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri) is chosen by the parliament (with each chamber acting independently), and heads the government. The president is chosen by the parliament as whole, along with a small number of representatives chosen by regional governments.
Governing parties: Movimento Cinque Stelle; Lega; Partito Democratico; Forza Italia; Italia Viva; Articolo Uno.
Head of government: Mario Draghi, prime minister (since 2021).
Other parliamentary parties: Fratelli d’Italia; Coraggio Italia; Liberi e Uguali; Centro Democratico; Federazione dei Verdi; Noi con l’Italia; Più Europa; Partito Socialista Italiano; Südtiroler VolksparteiPartito Autonomista Trentino Tirolese; Movimento Associativo Italiani all’EsteroUnione Sudamericana Emigrati Italiani.
Assessment: One of the most unstable democracies in western Europe. A center-left coalition of coalitions known as L’Unione won a 2006 general election narrowly (by .1%) over the Casa della Libertà coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi; Romano Prodi (1996-8, 2006-8) became prime minister. An unusually-contentious election for the ceremonial presidency went to Unione member Giorgio Napolitano. Berlusconi, a media baron of dubious ethics and several times prime minister (1994-5, 2001-6, 2008-11), arranged his own protection from prosecution at several points during his time in office. The core of L’Unione was set to consolidate around Prodi into a single party, the PD. But the departure of the Unione Democratici per l’Europa from the governing coalition upon the indictment of its leader for corruption cost the coalition its majority in the Senate; it lost a vote of confidence in the Senate and resigned. Berlusconi, whose coalition was leading in public-opinion polls, blocked attempts at an interim government to pass electoral reform; the 2008 elections were then held under the system created under Berlusconi, and were won by Popolo della Libertà, which formally merged two CdL components, Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Gianfranco Fini’s Alleanza Nazionale. Berlusconi became prime minister. In 2011, facing the European debt crisis, he resigned in favor of a technocratic government led by Mario Monti (2011-3). A 2013 election led to a victory for the PD; eventually Enrico Letta (2013-4) formed a broad government. Letta resigned in 2014, replaced by Matteo Renzi (2014-6). In 2016, Renzi’s proposal for parliamentary reform failed in a referendum, and he resigned, replaced by Paolo Gentiloni (2016-8) of the PD. In a 2018 election, the center-right coalition won a plurality, M5S became the single largest party, and the PD lost more than half its seats. M5S formed a coalition with the Lega (Nord), under the neutral Giuseppe Conte (2018-21). The Lega withdrew its support in 2019, intending to force snap elections, but M5S formed a new coalition with the PD, LeU, and the PD splinter faction Italia Viva. When IV withdrew its support in early 2021, Draghi was asked to form a grand coalition, and largely succeeded.
FH: 1-2, free. Econ: 7.98 (29), full democracy.
Updated: 2021 June 20.