Few countries have reformed the institutions potentially affecting legislative speechmaking more often than Italy. Since the enactment of the Republican Constitution in 1948, Italy has experienced several reforms in the electoral system and in the parliamentary rules of procedure. Four electoral reforms have been approved from the 1990s onwards during the highly unstable political phase commonly labeled “Second Republic.” Substantial changes in the standing orders of both chambers of the Italian parliament took place during the early 1970s, the late 1980s, and the 1990s. Italy thus offers an almost ideal context in which to test how the behavior of elected members of parliament (MPs)—most notably their speechmaking activity—is affected by different types of incentives at both the electoral and legislative level. Our study analyzes legislative debates held in the Italian lower house (the Chamber of Deputies, Camera dei Deputati) during the 1996–2018 period. Such a period includes two parliamentary terms elected under a mixed majoritarian electoral system (1996–2001 and 2001–2006) as well as three terms elected under a closed-list PR with a majority bonus (2006–2008, 2008–2013, and 2013–2018). Except for the first part of the 1996–2001 Legislature, all these five legislative terms are characterized by the same parliamentary rules governing legislative speechmaking. The analysis carried out in this chapter will focus on the role of different electoral incentives leaving for future research a more comprehensive study, including the analysis of changes in parliamentary rules.Our findings provide support to the Proksch and Slapin (2012) hypothesis, according to which in systems characterized by the prominence of party government party groups establish strict rules to control speechmaking activity in parliament. As a result, debates in the Italian Chamber are dominated mainly by those MPs holding leading positions within and for their party. This pattern seems to characterize to a more considerable extent the legislative terms elected under party-centered electoral rules. This chapter is organized as follows. In the next section, we describe the institutional background that shapes party politics in Italy and sketch the evolution of the Italian party system in the last two decades and a half. The following section is devoted to discussing the formal and informal rules governing legislative speechmaking in the Chamber. In the ensuing empirical section, we offer a descriptive account of who speaks in Italian legislative debates and a regression analysis of speechmaking activities that takes into account intra-party and interparty explanatory factors. In the country-specific section, we explore the effects of different types of electoral incentives on speechmaking activity. Some final remarks conclude the chapter.

Italy : Legislative Speeches under Changing Electoral Rules / D. Giannetti, A. Pedrazzani - In: The Politics of Legislative Debates / [a cura di] T. Bergman, H. Bäck, J. Hellström. - Prima edizione. - Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2021. - ISBN 9780198868484. - pp. 505-527

Italy : Legislative Speeches under Changing Electoral Rules

A. Pedrazzani
2021

Abstract

Few countries have reformed the institutions potentially affecting legislative speechmaking more often than Italy. Since the enactment of the Republican Constitution in 1948, Italy has experienced several reforms in the electoral system and in the parliamentary rules of procedure. Four electoral reforms have been approved from the 1990s onwards during the highly unstable political phase commonly labeled “Second Republic.” Substantial changes in the standing orders of both chambers of the Italian parliament took place during the early 1970s, the late 1980s, and the 1990s. Italy thus offers an almost ideal context in which to test how the behavior of elected members of parliament (MPs)—most notably their speechmaking activity—is affected by different types of incentives at both the electoral and legislative level. Our study analyzes legislative debates held in the Italian lower house (the Chamber of Deputies, Camera dei Deputati) during the 1996–2018 period. Such a period includes two parliamentary terms elected under a mixed majoritarian electoral system (1996–2001 and 2001–2006) as well as three terms elected under a closed-list PR with a majority bonus (2006–2008, 2008–2013, and 2013–2018). Except for the first part of the 1996–2001 Legislature, all these five legislative terms are characterized by the same parliamentary rules governing legislative speechmaking. The analysis carried out in this chapter will focus on the role of different electoral incentives leaving for future research a more comprehensive study, including the analysis of changes in parliamentary rules.Our findings provide support to the Proksch and Slapin (2012) hypothesis, according to which in systems characterized by the prominence of party government party groups establish strict rules to control speechmaking activity in parliament. As a result, debates in the Italian Chamber are dominated mainly by those MPs holding leading positions within and for their party. This pattern seems to characterize to a more considerable extent the legislative terms elected under party-centered electoral rules. This chapter is organized as follows. In the next section, we describe the institutional background that shapes party politics in Italy and sketch the evolution of the Italian party system in the last two decades and a half. The following section is devoted to discussing the formal and informal rules governing legislative speechmaking in the Chamber. In the ensuing empirical section, we offer a descriptive account of who speaks in Italian legislative debates and a regression analysis of speechmaking activities that takes into account intra-party and interparty explanatory factors. In the country-specific section, we explore the effects of different types of electoral incentives on speechmaking activity. Some final remarks conclude the chapter.
Parliament; Legislative politics; Legislative debates; Legislative speeches; Electoral system; Italy
Settore SPS/04 - Scienza Politica
Settore SPS/11 - Sociologia dei Fenomeni Politici
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/874659
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