Party Regulation in Italy

Authors: Daniela R. Piccio | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 35, July. | Date of publication: 2013


This article looks at party regulation as a dependent variable: what factors drive the evolution of party regulation? This question is addressed within the theoretical debate on the role of party regulation in modern democracies and on the alleged self-serve mechanisms that rules on political parties - and party finance rules in particular - have brought about. Italy makes a particularly good case to observe since the discussion on party regulation in this country has a long history, which started in the Constitutional Assembly of 1946 and has remained high on the political and public agenda ever since. Since the establishment of the Republic, Italy has repeatedly debated its system of political finance, the interpretation of the constitutional provisions on political parties, and the question whether to establish a party law. Moreover, Italy provides a dramatic cases of political corruption and party finance scandals that have damaged the reputation, credibility and legitimacy of an entire political class, leading to the dismantling of its party system in the early 1990s, and to growing anti-party sentiments in the society. Have societal and political factors influenced the evolution of political finance regulation, or are self-serve mechanisms the primary drive explaining the behavior of the Italian legislators?


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