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Salvatore Vassallo

On 3 and 4 April 2005, elections were held to elect the councils of 13 of

the 15 ordinary regions. In Basilicata the election took place two weeks

later, on 17 and 18 April, to allow the Unità Popolare list to take part in

the campaign. This list had initially been barred from running because

of procedural defects in the presentation of its lists of candidates, but

it was later readmitted by the Council of State. In Molise, on the other

hand, no election was held because in June 2001 the Council of State

had invalidated the regional election of the previous year on the ground

that some lists (Democratic Union for Europe, Greens, Italian Democratic

Socialists, and Party of Italian Communists) had been allowed to

run despite not having satisfied the requirements. This required holding

a new election, which took place in November 2001.

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Salvatore Vassallo

During its sitting of 25 March 2004, the Senate gave first-reading approval

to a far-reaching, government-sponsored bill for constitutional reform,

which touches on almost all aspects of Part II of the Constitution. On

15 October, the Chamber of Deputies completed its examination of the

same proposal and approved it, though with a number of amendments.

Then, on 3 November, the Senate began its re-examination through the

Commission for Constitutional Affairs. If we are to believe what its rapporteur,

Senator Francesco D’Onofrio, stated during the Commission’s

first sitting, the majority remains committed to approving “a revision of

the Constitution during the life of this Parliament, such as will define

and achieve the principles of federalism, put an end to perfect bicameralism,

and, as a consequence, modernize the form of government.”

This commitment is linked to a proposed parallel revision of the electoral

law. Indeed, the majority parties’ investment in the bill—in terms

of public image and lengthy internal negotiations—makes it unlikely

that they will abandon it lightly.

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Ilvo Diamanti and Salvatore Vassallo

Analyses of the general election held on 9–10 April 2006 can differ considerably

depending on one’s standpoint and the yardstick one adopts.

This is especially the case if one chooses to analyze the outcome based

on the expectations prior to the election rather than the result itself or

if one focuses on parliamentary rather than party or social representation.

The differences between various analyses are thus dictated by the

types of approaches and methods used and, in particular, by factors

linked to the opinion climate of the time. There can be little doubt, for

example, that the expectations regarding the outcome influenced not

only the election campaign itself and the eventual result but also the

manner in which these were perceived by politicians and voters alike.

This in turn shaped the impact and effects of the result.

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Gianfranco Baldini and Salvatore Vassallo

In the sessions of 10 and 12 November 1999, an ample majority of

both Chambers of Parliament approved the second deliberation of

the reform of articles 121, 122, 123 and 126 of the Constitution (491

votes in favour in the Chamber and 236 in the Senate). The principle

of direct election of regional presidents was thus introduced,

and the regions were given the power to determine their own form

of government. This is the initial result of the long effort to move

towards a federal constitution. Note too that the reform does not

modify the electoral system, whose first changes occurred in 1995.

Even so, it has set into motion processes that promise to influence

the stability of regional governments, the dynamics of political

competition, the structure of political careers, and the evolution of

relations between the center and the periphery.