Sunday, 21 April 2013

Grabbing Power

The Italian Constitutional Court should have ruled on the validity of a renewed candidature to the presidency of Italy.  The Italian Constitution rests on more than one pillar:  there is the codification in the text;  there is precedent; there are court rulings; there is interpretation by distinguished scholars incorporated in re-castings of the code;  there is the history of the constitution itself which brings with it the precedent and rulings and interpretations of the constitution/s on which it draws or has been modelled; then there is the influence of supra-national law and many other influences that any constitutionalist will list.  

Suffice it to say that the Italian Constitution does not exist  solely in a text .  Even less so does it exist  in a vacuum - it  is, and must be, part of democracy which derives from many and deeply-rooted sources, both in time and in space.

Thus to watch the democratic charade enacted yesterday in the Italian Parliament was very painful.  Certainly the democratic procedures of voting were pompously observed - but the doubtful legitimacy of the candidature remained unaddressed.  Only the Constitutional Court is constitutionally and technically equipped to address the legitimacy of the candidature of a sitting president to his own succession.

For a start Napolitano 1 is in office until 15 May, his powers constitutionally  and deliberately weakened in the last 6 months of that office.  Napolitano 2 is over-riding that constitutional provision by taking office tomorrow.  Has Napolitano 1 resigned?  Or are we to have two presidents as we have two popes?  The fact that the man is the same person does not extinguish the provisions made to prevent the inappropriate use of presidential powers at the end of a presidency.  Nor does the fact that the code is silent imply that other constitutional resources do not forbid a candidature we are expected to endorse in the name of some greater good.

Rules matter.  Without them there is no democracy.


It has just been announced that Napolitano has 'formally resigned' from the presidency prior to the swearing-in ceremony this afternoon.  So if Italy means to declare war anytime between now and half past five this evening it'll be the Speaker of the Senate who does it.   More important matters, such as reaching for power outside the constitutional mandate are, however, continuing apace  under Napolitano's own steam.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

That technocratic imposition - it's getting closer, is it not?

And as for your final sentence, well the EU is nothing to do with democracy, and never has been; in fact it's deliberately designed to sidestep and ignore democracy "for the greater good".

hatfield girl said...

Italy has its very own Mugabe, Yacht.

How can an 88-year-old man - and the mandate is for seven years! possibly pretend to be in anything other than office? Certainly he is not in power. He is a wilful old man whose end-off-life out-dated understandings have been manipulated into reasons for acting so dishonourably.

The constitutional deprivation of presidential emergency powers in the last six months of office has been circumvented - for whom? For what?

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"for whom? For what?"

Well I think we all know.

But I will await events, and your invaluable commentary.