An Overview of the Democratic Republic of Italy

An Overview of the Democratic Republic of Italy
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  • 0:01 A New Republic
  • 0:48 A New Constitution
  • 1:27 The President
  • 2:10 Three Branches of Government
  • 3:54 A Party System
  • 4:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amy Troolin

Amy has MA degrees in History, English, and Theology. She has taught college English and religious education classes and currently works as a freelance writer.

In this lesson, we will explore the Democratic Republic of Italy. We will look at its history, examine Italy's Constitution, and explore the nation's governmental structures.

A New Republic

Buon giorno! It is I, Antonio, the secretary to il Presidente, the president of the Republic of Italy. My task today is to provide you with an overview of my country and its government. There is much to cover, but I will try very hard not to overwhelm you. Ha ha!

My people were weary after World War II, and they were ready for a major change. In a referendum on June 2, 1946, Italy's citizens made two important decisions. First, they voted to abolish Italy's monarchy and make their country a republic. Second, they elected a Constituent Assembly to write a brand new constitution to guide their new republic.

A New Constitution

The Constituent Assembly got right to work, and on December 11, 1947, its members passed the new Italian Constitution, which officially took effect on January 1, 1948. The Constitution is comprised of three main parts:

  1. The 'Fundamental Principles,' which express the Republic's basic ideology.
  2. The 'Rights and Duties of Citizens,' which lay out the civil, social, ethical, political, and economic rights and duties of Italy's people.
  3. The 'Organization of Republic,' which presents the structures and functions of Italy's government.

The President

Speaking of government, my country has a very interesting one, if I do say so myself. It is headed by my boss, the President of the Republic, who is elected by the members of Italy's Parliament, along with 58 electors from the nation's regions. The president serves as the official Head of State, represents the country's unity, and draws together the three branches of Italian government.

My boss is a very busy man with many duties. He appoints the prime minister and other government officials, works with Parliament to authorize and promulgate bills, issues decrees and regulations, presides over the High Council of the Judiciary, represents Italy in the international community, and much more.

Three Branches of Government

What's that? Oh yes! Italy does have three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Let's talk about each one a bit, shall we? The executive branch, which is also called the Government of the Republic, is made up of the prime minister and the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet. Together, they run the country on a day-to-day basis, making policies, implementing laws, and supervising political and social activities.

The legislative branch consists of the Italian Parliament, which has two Houses: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. These two Houses have the same functions. Together, they make laws for Italy; provide guidelines and set policies for the government's day-to-day operation; scrutinize government ministers and hold them accountable for their actions; conduct fact-finding investigations, inquiries, and hearings on important issues; and make or withdraw a resolution of confidence in the current government.

Finally, we have the judicial branch. Italy's judicial branch is independent from the other branches of the nation's government and is overseen by two organizational bodies: the Ministry of Justice and the High Council of the Judiciary. Italy is served by a collection of lower courts, including the Court of Assizes, which hears the most serious criminal cases; two courts of appeals; and two supreme courts. The two supreme courts are the Court of Cassation, which is the highest civil and criminal appeals court, and the Constitutional Court, which determines the constitutionality of laws and settles disputes within the government, between the nation and its regions, and between individual regions.

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