The Italian Parliament twixt the Logic of Government and the Logic of Institutions (Much Ado about Something—but What Exactly?)

in Italian Politics
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During the course of 2002, political news frequently focused on the

formal procedures and the informal dynamics of the workings of the

Italian Parliament. In a number of striking cases—international letters

“rogatory,” false accounting, “legitimate suspicion,” the “objective

law,” the conflict of interests, the law of delegation on employment,

the sending of troops abroad, and so on—journalists have had to

adapt their vocabulary, usually very careful of internal party and interparty

equilibria but superficial when it comes to parliamentary matters,

to the novelty of the subject at hand. However, it is not only

because of these headline stories that the country’s most important

representative institution deserves closer analysis. Parliament and its

relationship with the second Berlusconi government have created a

series of expectations over the past year: a form of political bi-polarity

free of “underhanded dealings” and “about-turns”; a tough battle

between a government coalition comforted by its parliamentary

majority and an opposition reunited in its struggle against the common

enemy.