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Véronique Pujas

The debate in 1999 on how to finance the Italian party system centred

on two aberrations from the European norm that are linked to

the wider issue of the unfinished transition of the Italian political

system. The first of these aberrations is that the Italian political

class has yet to find a definitive remedy for the illegal funding of

the country’s political parties. Although public funding has been

envisaged since the law of 1974, subsequent legislation has

always been determined by circumstances and has never

addressed the real needs of parties. The second problem concerns

the control of three television channels by the state, on the one

hand, and of three further channels by a media entrepreneur and

political leader, Silvio Berlusconi, on the other. In the opinion of

many observers, this situation comprises an interweaving of interests

harmful to democratic pluralism.

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Sergio Rizzo and Gian Antonio Stella

In this chapter, the efforts of the Italian ruling class to cut the costs of politics during 2012 are analyzed. An informal division of labor was established between Monti's executive, which was to take care of budgetary problems, and the Parliament, which was supposed to tackle the frequent scandals of corruption and public money mismanagement. The results of the latter's efforts were amply (and predictably) disappointing, justifying once more the low levels of trust that citizens display toward politicians. In particular, we consider five points: the expenditure cuts by the constitutional bodies, the failure to reduce the number of MPs, the effort to cut back on the public funding of political parties, the “anarchy” of regional expenditures, and the inability to decide about the abolition of provincial government.

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Gianfranco Pasquino and Marco Valbruzzi

This chapter analyzes the processes of candidate selection in Italy for the main political parties facing the 2013 general election. In particular, the authors investigate and evaluate the primary elections organized, in November–December 2012, by the center-left coalition (composed of the Democratic Party, Left Ecology and Freedom, and the Italian Socialist Party) for the selection of the candidate to the office of president of the Council of Ministers. The chapter explores in detail the main issues at the center of the electoral campaign, the candidates involved in the process of selection, the socio-demographic profile of the “selectorate,” the electoral results of the primary elections, and their consequences for the consolidation of the Italian party system.

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Acronyms of political parties

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Francesco Maria Scanni and Francesco Compolongo

weakening of the worker; and legislative assemblies’ loss of power to the executive branch. In addition, there was widespread cartelisation: the major political parties took control of the state, alternating in power and using electoral laws to prevent new

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Nadia Urbinati

—parliamentary democracy based on the centrality of suffrage, political parties, and the priority of the lawmaking power over the executive. Pierre Rosanvallon (2015) has described this phenomenon as presidentialization of parliamentary democracy. What we detect as a

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Simon Tormey and Jean-Paul Gagnon

representation, election, and mass political parties? Tormey: Representation is a concept I got very interested in about 10 years ago. In an earlier paper, when I was writing about representation, I termed it a “ pharmakon ,” which is a Greek term from which we

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Stephen Gundle

In a communiqué to the press dated 3 May 2009, Silvio Berlusconi’s

wife, Veronica Lario, announced that she was divorcing her husband.

The declaration came less than a week after the publication of a message

that she had sent to a press agency denouncing the apparent

intention of her husband’s political party to field a range of showgirls,

singers, and television actresses as candidates in the forthcoming

European elections. Finding this plan disgraceful and humiliating to

women, she dismissed it as “shameless rubbish.” “We have had Mrs.

Thatcher, and today there is Mrs. Merkel. They show that it is possible

for women to have a political career,” she continued.

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Participation without Deliberation

The Crisis of Venezuelan Democracy

Nicole Curato

The legacy of Hugo Chavez is contentious. Some lament the deterioration of Venezuelan democracy from one of Latin America's most stable political systems to a populist authoritarian regime. Others celebrate Chavez's participatory project of institutionalizing structures for community-driven development, redistributing oil wealth through welfare policies, and creating a political party closely linked to mass movements. This article provides an alternative assessment of Venezuela's democratic quality by drawing on deliberative democratic theory. I argue that Chavez's participatory project is incomplete because it fails to create structures for deliberative politics. Without these mechanisms, Venezuela remains vulnerable to crises brought about by “uncivil action,” such as military coups and violent protests, making deliberation an important component in averting crises in democratizing polities.

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Carlo Bacetti

In the year 2000, Center leaning political parties and groups played

a major role in the crowded scene of Italian politics. This is especially

true in the case of parties which occupied the center space

of the Center-Left, the focus of this analysis. Their political visibility

notwithstanding, they persistently displayed confused tactics

and contradictory goals. Leading protagonists and supporting

actors disagreed over key questions including the very definition of

“Center” and the political subjects it encompasses, and, with that,

the meaning of the bloc’s left flank. In fact, the groups of the Center-

Left even debated the hyphen linking the two components of

its name. In turn, a political force – the Democrats – was even created

with the strategic goal of bypassing the Left/Right cleavage.

The Democrats sought to unify the various forces that had joined

the Ulivo’s (Olive Tree) electoral cartel into a “democratic party,”

that was inspired by the American Democrats, down to the choice

of a donkey as its symbol – hence their nickname “Asinello.”

Another element that makes it difficult to assign clear boundaries

to the political center was that these groups of the center and Center-

Left repeatedly took the “reformist” label. As a result, it is quite

difficult to trace the boundaries of the semantic universes to which

they refer and, in the end, it is often impossible to assess the true

nature of the issues dividing political forces and of the stakes

involved in particular choices or outcomes. The Center of the Center-

Left is not easily analyzed.