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Home » Archive » Territorial Representation In Unitary States. Reforming National Legislatures In Italy And In The United Kingdom

Barbara Guastaferro
Territorial Representation In Unitary States. Reforming National Legislatures In Italy And In The United Kingdom
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Important reforms of constitutional significance have recently affected national legislatures in Italy and the United Kingdom. In both cases, those reforms modified—or attempted to modify—the composition of national Parliaments by creating or bolstering territorial representation, and responding to a call for territorial differentiation in one of the Houses of Parliament. In the case of Italy, the 2014 constitutional reform—rejected by the 2016 referendum—required the Senate to represent “territorial institutions”—and no longer “the Nation”—as it happens in many Second Chambers of fully-fledged federal States. In the case of the United Kingdom, the 2015 House of Commons Standing Orders reform introduced the “English Votes for English Laws” procedure: legislation at the UK level affecting England (and Wales) will be enacted only with the consent of Members of Parliament for constituencies in England (and Wales), thus excluding MPs representing devolved legislatures. Against this backdrop, the article will be divided into two sections. Section I will analyse the above-mentioned constitutional reform of national legislatures both in Italy and in the United Kingdom, also focusing on the connections between this sort of “territorialization” of national legislatures and the vertical allocation of powers between central State and territorial autonomies/devolved legislatures. Section II will explore the possible rationale, functions, and constitutional significance of territorial representation for unitary, rather than federal States. It will then highlight the theoretical and empirical difficulties in embedding territorial representation in unitary States, where the trustee model of political representation and the dogma of unitary sovereignty are still dominant.

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