Giulio Enea Vigevani
The Reform Of Italian Bicameralism: The First Step
At the beginning of August 2014 the Italian Senate approved a constitutional bill amending 46 articles of the Constitution. The two cornerstones of the reform are the transformation of Italian bicameralism - by means of the transformation of the Senate to a not directly elected constitutional body, designed principally as a place for dialogue between national and regional legislators - and the revision of the allocation of competences between the State and the Regions drawn up by the constitutional reform of 2001, making it more flexible and re-dimensioning the legislative autonomy of the Regions. This essay aims at illustrating and discussing this deep transformation of the Republican Constitution. First, it examines the elements of continuity and novelty compared to previous attempts to change the Italian Constitution in the last thirty years. As a second step, it examines critically the governmental plan and the changes introduced during the parliamentary examination, especially with regard to a) the method of election and the functions of the Senate, b) the implications on the balances among the powers of the State and between the central and local authorities. The article argues that the reform may still change, due to the need of further parliamentary examination and that it even remains to be seen if it will ever see the light of day. In any case, the current constitutional bill is undoubtedly one of the most significant attempts to reform the institutional architecture of the Republic and therefore should be carefully followed in his path.