Government in Italy
The government is an expression of parliamentary majority, i.e. of a coalition of parties that obtains the majority of seats in parliament. The President of the Republic names the Prime Minister and, in accordance with the recommendations of the Prime Minister, also Ministers.
The "Council of Ministers", or Cabinet, is a distinct collegial body. Each Minister is personally responsible for the actions of his or her office, and assumes collective responsibility as member of the Cabinet for the actions deliberated by that organ.
The Prime Minister and the Ministers are sworn in by the President of the Republic before taking up their respective offices. The government must have the confidence of both Chambers, and each Chamber accords or denies confidence by means of a motion in which it lays before Parliament the grounds for such action.
The motion is put to the vote by means of a roll call.
The government has the faculty of presenting bills in Parliament. The Prime Minister may issue either directives regarding specific questions or prime ministerial decrees.
Likewise, Ministers, acting within the bounds of their respective offices, may issue ministerial decrees.
The President of the Italian Republic
The Head of State is elected by Parliament in joint session and remains in office for 7 years. Participating in his election are 3 delegates per regional council, with the exception of Valle d'Aosta (one delegate). Voting is by secret ballot. Although a majority of two-thirds is required, in the absence of such a majority, after the third count, a simple majority is enough. Any citizen aged fifty or over can be elected president. If the President is unable to perform his duties, these are taken on by the Speaker or President of the Senate.
The President of the Republic, as Head of State, calls parliamentary elections, enacts laws, is commander of the armed forces, presides over the supreme defence council, has the power to declare war subject to the deliberations of the Chambers, presides over the supreme council of magistrates, has the power to commute sentences or grant pardons, and names both the Prime Minister and, in accordance with the recommendations of the Prime Minister, also Ministers. No act by the President of the Republic is valid without the countersignature of promoting Ministers who assume responsibility for those acts.
The fundamental principles of the Italian Constitution
Italy is a democratic republic founded on labour. Sovereignty is in the hands of the people and is exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down by the Constitution. The Republic recognises and is guarantor of inviolable human rights, and equal social dignity is accorded to all citizens irrespective of gender, race, language, religion, political opinion, and personal and social conditions.
The Republic is a single and indivisible entity that recognises and fosters local powers of autonomy. The State and the Roman Catholic Church are sovereign entities independent of each other, and relations between the two are regulated by the Lateran Treaty. All religious faiths enjoy equal freedom before the law. Italy's legislation complies with the norms generally acknowledged by international law.
The Constitutional Court in Italy
The Constitutional Court is made up of fifteen judges, five of whom are named by the President of the Republic, five by Parliament in joint session, and five by the supreme council of magistrates. The constitutional court passes judgement on controversies regarding the constitutional legitimacy of laws or of decisions with legal force made by the state or regional councils, on the assignment of state and regional council powers, and on accusations directed toward the Head of State.