Party Regulation in Italy and its Effects

Authors: Daniela R. Piccio | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 26, June. | Date of publication: 2012

Political pluralism is the fundamental principle around which the newly established Italian democracy formed after the II World War. The Italian Constitution introduced universal suffrage, established proportional representation as the electoral system, gave central power to the Parliament and established the freedom of association in political parties. However, the recognition of political parties in the Constitution had little implications for their regulatory framework. Indeed, no further regulation of political parties has been established in Italy, except the one on their public financing. In this paper we will discuss the combination of those two elements, i.e. the absence of party regulation and the public funding system, in the light of a comparative analysis of party regulation in Europe. Scholars have observed how changes in the legal status of political parties have taken place as an effect of the introduction of party finance regulation. We will show how Italy remains exceptional in this respect, as the introduction of a system of public funding to political parties has not implied any change in the legal status of political parties, which remained overall legibus soluti.

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