Killing Democracy: How Berlusconi Made Italian Democracy Unconstitonal


Regional elections in Italy. Unconstitutional lists illegally approved

When Mussolini decided it was time to turn the Italian kingdom into a criminal tyranny, he organized the so-called “Marcia su Roma” (March to Rome): on the 22nd of October 1922, tens of thousands of fascists converged on the capital city to claim political power. This occurrence defined the death of the liberal state and the final rise to power of the fascist party.

On that occasion, the king, Vittorio Emanuele III, didn’t show any courage in preventing this coup, bowed his head and assigned Mussolini, the leader of the Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party), the task of forming a new government.

88 years later, the very same thing has happened. Let’s be a little bit more clear and start explaining this political tragedy, moral failure and ‘ethical’ murder from the beginning.

At the end of this month. Regional elections in Italy. Thirteen out of the twenty Italian regions will be called to vote to constitute the new local executive councils. The main factions are represented by the “Popolo Della Liberta” party (PDL, righ-ish, backed by the prime minister Silvio Berlusconi), the “Partito Democratico” party (PD, left-ish) and, in six out of twenty regions, the “Unione Di Centro” party (UDC, moderate). So far, so good, but it is necessary to descend beneath this superficial level to unveil the monstrosity hidden in the PDL lists. There are two points which are currently being discussed in Italy: the eligibility criteria and the deadlines for the presentation of the lists. Let’s start with the first.

The PDL candidate in Lombardia region (whose capital is Milan, the economic core of Italy) is Roberto Formigoni, whose father was the chief of the “Brigate Nere” corps (a fascist paramilitary regiment) in Missaglia, a small town in northern Italy and was responsible for the murder of many partisans in Valaperta, another city close to Milan. Mr. Formigoni has already been appointed chairman of the region three times: from 1995 to 2000, from 2000 to 2005 and from 2005 to 2010.

An Italian law, number 165/2004, art. 2 states that the impossibility to elect a candidate who is also concluding his second executive mandate in a row. Since Formigoni is currently exerting his third mandate in a row, his election should have already been declared unconstitutional five years ago. Law number 165/2004 was approved in order to prevent political super-incomes and accumulation of personal power. Concerning the deadlines for the presentation of the lists, we notice that the situation is even more difficult, since it doesn’t affect only the Lombardia region, but also the Lazio one (whose capital is Rome).

The Popolo Della Liberta party had presented their lists late for the district of Rome and was automatically excluded from the elections and the tribunal had even rejected its instance of appeal. Last week, the PDL list, whose main candidate is a woman, Renata Polverini, was declined again, because of the lack of a signature.

Also last week, Formigoni’s list was rejected, too, because of the lack of the minimum number of signatures necessary for the presentation (3421 instead of 3500), after 514 signatures were found to be irregular. A few days later, further investigation of the appeal court has marked even more signatures as irregular and, therefore, declined the recourse backed by Formigoni and Berlusconi. The outgoing and potentially incoming Lombardia chairman then decided to appeal to the Administrative Regional Tribunal and State Council, that, in Italy, should ideally guarantee the highest and the most concrete form of justice.

Then, only a few hours before the final sentence of the supreme court, the central government approved a Law, that was meant to “suggest” to the tribunals a distorted interpretation of legislation in order to ensure the acceptance of the excluded lists. This frightening decree states:

– the deadlines for the presentation of the lists should not be based on the amount of signatures gathered.

– the possibility of consulting the documentation required for the presentation of the lists even after the presentation and the acceptance itself (while the constitution prescribes that all the documentation which has to be provided along with the lists must categorically be consulted before the presentation of the candidates).

– there is no need to identify and schedule the signatures gathered.

A conflict was then created with law number 400/1988, concerning the normative power of the government and that underlines the impossibility for the government to exceed article number 72 of the constitution, which states that the only procedure allowed is the regular one, prescribed by the Chamber of Deputies.

The hot potato ended up between the hands of the republic’s president, Giorgio Napolitano.

The night of the 5th and 6th will be remembered as the night of the actual death of democracy in Italy. The president has signed the decree that actually makes some people “more equal” than others. It will be possible to reinterpret laws from now on: every time it seems to be convenient, obviously.

Napolitano signed the document quickly, during the night, while Italians were sleeping. The signature-less lists, the unconstitutional ones, the ghost ones have been re-interpreted, given a new virginity. Formigoni and Polverini are now fully admitted to the competition and Mr. Berlusconi is smiling. Dictatorship. The government has managed to exceed and master the magistrature, as well as president and parliament.

Acts, or even better, enactments, backed by the government have become normality, even if the definition of enactment presupposes some “crisis” conditions which would allow the government to exceed all other constitutional powers. Today even the interpretation of the laws belongs to the government!

I legislate, I interpret the laws, I rule and, whenever I want, I change the constitution. I don’t know, personally. Should Formigoni and Polverini win the elections, their mandate should have no legitimacy and they are definitely the first to realize: since a bunch of cheaters can impose its own interpretation of something as sacrosanct as the Italian constitution, no central or regional decree will be considered authentically valid by citizens.

A new resistance is undoubtedly born.