Second chamber reform in Italy: federalism left behind

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Series Details Vol.23, No.3, 2018, p.387-403
Publication Date September 2018
ISSN 1360-8746 (print) | 1743-9612 (online)
Content Type


The 2016 Italian Constitutional reform, rejected by popular referendum, focused mainly on bicameralism, proposing a territorial revision of the Senate. Since the 1980s, when the debate on institutional reforms started developing, the need to overcome the ‘perfect’ Italian bicameralism has been clear to reformers.

This article traces the history of attempts to reform the Italian Senate, focusing mainly on the latest one, and addresses the reasons for its failure. It shows that territorial representation, as a new basis for Senate legitimacy, was not seen as great worth, and the shift from direct to indirect election for senators was perceived as a loss of democracy.

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ESO: Key source: Italian constitutional referendum, 2016

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