Senato della Repubblica
|logo||Palazzo Madama (Rome)|
Palazzo Madama ,
|Legislative period :||5 years|
|MPs:||315 + 6 senators for life|
|Current legislative period|
|Last choice:||4th March 2018|
|Chair:||Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati ( FI )|
|Distribution of seats:||
The Senate of the Republic (Italian Senato della Repubblica , usually just called Senato ) is the smaller of the two parliamentary chambers of the Italian Republic . He is elected at regional level and has the same rights in the Italian bicameral system as the Camera dei deputati , the Chamber of Deputies elected at national level. Attempts to fundamentally reform the Italian Senate failed several times, most recently in 2016.
The Italian Senate has its seat in the Palazzo Madama in Rome , the residence of the Senate President is in the neighboring Palazzo Giustiniani . The historically significant library of the Senate has been located in the Palazzo della Minerva near the Pantheon since 2003 .
The Senato della Repubblica is based on the Italian Constitution that came into force on January 1, 1948. Its predecessor was the Senato del Regno , founded in Sardinia-Piedmont in 1848 , which was taken over by the Italian national state in the Risorgimento in 1861 and dissolved in 1946 with the abolition of the monarchy. The kingdom's senators were not elected but appointed by the king for life.
In 1946 the Constituent Assembly was given the task of creating a successor to the former, unelected House of Lords . There was a tendency to make the new Senate a representation of the regions , but since 1861 the Italian nation-state had been built up as a central unitary state following the Napoleonic model, which is why decentralization and regionalization efforts were largely breaking new ground. There was also various resistance to these efforts, which meant that the regionalization of Italy provided for by the constitution was not implemented until the 1970s. Against this background, the Constituent Assembly did not succeed in creating a real representation of the regions on the model of various chambers of federal states in the area of the legislature . The direct election of senators at regional level and absolute equality with the Chamber of Deputies led to calls for a differentiation of tasks and for the Senate to be largely restricted to representing the regions as early as the 1970s. The fact that the government is dependent on the trust of both parliamentary chambers has come under increasing criticism over time, especially in legislative periods in which there were different majorities in the two parliamentary chambers. In 2014, the Renzi government submitted a draft law to reform the constitution with the aim of making the Senate a no longer directly elected representative of the regions and municipalities. In 2016, the constitutional reform was approved by both chambers of parliament, but then rejected by the people in a referendum . A number of constitutional lawyers , including the former President of the Italian Constitutional Court , Gustavo Zagrebelsky , had criticized the reform project as immature and had submitted alternative reform proposals.
The Senate has 315 elected members. Each of the 20 regions has a fixed number of senators, which varies depending on the population in the region. With two exceptions, each region has at least seven senators. The Aosta Valley has only one senator, the Molise region two. Six senators are elected by the Italians living abroad. According to the electoral system introduced in 2017, 116 senators are elected by relative majority voting in single-constituencies and 193 by proportional representation within the regions. A nationwide threshold of three percent applies to the proportional distribution of seats .
The Italian Constitution states that the Senators are elected by universal and direct suffrage by voters over the age of 25. Anyone who has reached the age of 40 can be elected as a senator (cf. Art. 58).
Senators for life are added to the 315 elected senators . After their term of office, Italian presidents are legally senators for life, unless they waive it (Art. 59, 1). The incumbent presidents have the right to appoint five deserving Italian citizens as senators for life. The constitution grants this privilege to citizens "who [...] adorn the fatherland in a special way through the highest achievements in the social, scientific, artistic and literary fields" (Art. 59, 2). Currently (as of February 2018) there are five senators who have been appointed for life in addition to the former President Giorgio Napolitano . Napolitano was a senator for life even before his election as president; this post was suspended during the presidency.
The two Italian chambers of parliament (Chamber of Deputies and Senate) can also meet together (Parlamento in seduta comune) . This takes place, among other things, for the election of the President. In this case, the venue is the Palazzo Montecitorio .
- ^ Criticism and reform proposal by the former President of the Constitutional Court, Gustavo Zagrebelsky , from May 4, 2014 on micormega-online (July 14, 2014)
- ^ Constitution of the Italian Republic (Italian and German, PDF; 439 kB)