Italian Government

Italian Government

Like many of the other modern governments in Europe, the present Italian government was established in 1948, in the aftermath of World War II. With the ratification of Italy’s new constitution, the Italian monarchy was abolished and the government completely restructured to include a bicameral legislature, similar to that of the United States, as well as a new independent judiciary. The body of Italian representatives who drafted and ratified the constitution were all prominently anti-Fascist, but represented a wide variety of political viewpoints. Each group, concerned with its ability to get officials elected in the new government, sought to imprint something of its views on the new constitution. The result was a uniquely democratic document that represented the values and ambitions of a wide variety of people within the new Italian government.

The head of the Italian government is known as the President of the Republic. The responsibilities of this office include many of the duties that the former king of Italy would have previously handled, including service as the commander in chief of the armed forces, functioning as the link between the different branches of government, and the appointment of officials to executive positions. Every seven years, the Italian Electoral College, which consists of lawmakers from both parliamentary houses, as well as fifty eight district representatives, meet to elect a new president. The presidents of Italy are meant to serve as impartial guardians of the Italian constitution, and have the power to veto unconstitutional bills by refusing to sign them into law. No President of the Republic has yet served more than one term in office.

The judicial branch of the Italian government reflects a number of different historical influences, such as the tenets of Roman law and the Napoleonic Code. The courts in Italy have adopted many aspects of an adversarial judiciary into their trial process. The Italian judicial system features three levels of trial, and appeals are given the status of new trials within the legal system. The power of the judicial branch is also more limited than in other nations, as the constitutional court has less power to reject unconstitutional laws than the Supreme Court of the United States does. The constitutional court of Italy consists of fifteen judges, of which the president, the parliament, and other court officials each appoint five.

More recent works of Italian literature are modernist and post-modernist, and include drama, poetry, and novels. The work of Luigi Pirandello which includes both stage plays and prose, probes the nature of ever-changing reality. Italo Calvino, primarily an author of short stories and novels, explored the nature of these forms, with novels like Invisible Cities and If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler. Umberto Eco, a semiotician and novelist, explores topics as various as medieval symbols, biblical analysis, and literary theory in his works. Modern Italian authors are at the forefront of current developments in world literature.

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