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Gianfranco Pasquino

In 2002, the president of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi,

was repeatedly drawn into political debates. This had rarely happened

in the past, so all comparison with his predecessors seems

somehow unfitting. Ciampi was forced to take a stand on a large

number of important political and institutional issues, including the

actions of the government and the opposition’s response to these

actions—which in the latter case took the form of forceful demands

for his intervention—as well as conflict within Parliament and among

institutions. Nevertheless, much to the disappointment of the centerleft

opposition, Ciampi tended to act with great tact and reserve,

making general appeals in an attempt to appease all concerned.

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Gianfranco Pasquino

At 13.04 on Thursday, 13 May 1999, on the first ballot, a joint session

of parliament elected the seventy-nine-year-old Treasury Minister,

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, to the office of the ninth President of the

Italian Republic (tenth if the ‘provisional’ President Enrico De

Nicola, in office from 1946 to approval of the Constitution, is

included in the list). This was only the second time in the history of

the Italian presidential elections1 that a candidate had been elected

on the first ballot. On the single previous occasion (1985) – following

adroit negotiations by the secretary of the Democrazia cristiana

(Christian Democrats: DC), Ciriaco De Mita – the choice had fallen

on the then President of the Senate, Francesco Cossiga, ex-Prime

Minister, and Minister of the Interior at the time of the Aldo Moro

kidnapping. The 707 votes gained by Ciampi (representing 71.4 percent

of those entitled to vote) suggest a substantial majority, (albeit

one not much over the quorum of 674 votes) in favour of the centre-

left candidate. Yet the 183 votes lacking from the theoretical

majority which should have sustained Ciampi from the first round

of voting suggest that there were those who would have preferred

matters to be much less clear-cut.

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Gianfranco Pasquino

This chapter analyzes the unexpected and rapid end of the second

Government led by Massimo D’Alema; the equally unexpected, but

less rapid and more complex, birth of the second Government led

by Giuliano Amato; and the selection of the Center-Left’s next

Prime Ministerial candidate. I argue that the crisis of the D’Alema

Government and the formation of the Amato Government were

complicated by the crosscutting of two divisive issues: the referendum

on the electoral system and the choice of the Center-Left’s

Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2001 election. Conversely, the

way in which the Amato Government was created reveals that, in

spite of the electoral reform known as mattarellum, the relationships

between parties and Parliament, Parliament and Government,

and the triangulation among the president, Government and

Parliament have changed little, or not at all, in the Italian Republic.

Italy’s political-institutional transition is destined to continue

until a new political and institutional configuration comes into

being. In turn, the ways in which the Olive Tree/Center-Left chose

its candidate to Palazzo Chigi show that the coalition has not yet

been able to arrive at appropriate and consensual rules.

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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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Mark Gilbert and Gianfranco Pasquino

Unravelling the knots of Italian politics was as elusive a task as

ever in 1999. But the key thread, if anywhere, is to be found in the

interwoven themes of the creation of the D’Alema government in

October 1998 (and its subsequent political fall-out), the difficulty

of reforming the electoral law, and hence the hyper-fragmented

party system, and the short, sharp crisis of the D’Alema cabinet

just before Christmas 1999. Short though the crisis was, it jumbled

up politics once more and left new loose ends that will gradually

unwind themselves in the coming year.