Why not”

I gladly receive and publish a brief discussion of my friend and collaborator Valerio Donato on the reasons for the NO to the constitutional referendum to be held in a few days. I too will go to the polls to try to reject this new attempt to overturn the constitutional architecture which, under current conditions, represents one of the few remaining diaphragms between precariousness and the certain filing of a model of state worthy of participation.

Democracy has many defects, many of which cannot be amended, but its being today under attack by the most protracted and contemptuous political and supra-political forces of the right of peoples to live freely, industriously and without fear, is already sufficient reason to defend it even in this. case with the teeth. It would be superfluous and even embarrassing to add more to the words of the lawyer. Donato, so much so that it is perhaps here, in the paradox of reducing himself to explaining the importance of representation to the representatives, the most mortifying aspect of this latest referendum event. The obscene trick of a political class that first disfigures the principle of the diffusion of powers by the Bulgarian majority and then makes one believe that it is the first victim of that disfigurement, will offer psychologists, not constitutionalists, material.

While joining with conviction in this just battle, I therefore register with bitterness that we must still and always play in defense. And repeat the obvious.


Note: the author thanks the blog horizon48 by president Luciano Barra Caracciolo and Arturo for the materials and ideas, author of a fundamental study on the subject.

After 4 years the constitutional referendum returns (already rejected in 2016 and 2006). On 20 and 21 September we are in fact called to decide whether to approve or reject the constitutional law on the cut of parliamentarians . It is not necessary to reach any quorum , ie the consultation will be valid regardless of the number of voters.

The bill provides for the modification:

  • of art. 56 , with the reduction of the number of deputies of the Chamber from 630 to 400;
  • of art. 57 , with the reduction of senators from 315 to 200 (each region would also have a minimum number of senators of 3 instead of 7);
  • of art. 59 , with the reduction to 5 in the number of senators for life.

As a result of the yes victory, the number of parliamentarians per inhabitant would therefore decrease, with a "saving" (the quotation mark is a must because public spending is a positive component of GDP and its cut actually increases and does not decrease public debt) of just 81 million euros per year (one coffee per citizen). In the face of this cut in popular representation, the weight of senators for life (not elected) would increase, who already today can decide the fate of governments that often in the Senate are based on majorities of 1 or 2 senators.

But not only. The electoral law under discussion, which must be approved after the reform, is going in the direction of providing blocked lists without preferential voting, therefore chosen by the parties, and with a 5% barrier. In summary, with the yes we will find a less representative Parliament, actually chosen by the party secretaries and in which newly formed political forces would have enormous difficulty in entering. Historically, the cut of parliamentarians, already made by Mussolini during Fascism, has always been a battle of the liberal forces.

Umberto Terracini , President of the constituent assembly, replied as follows: "the decrease … would be … undemocratic [a], given that … when you want to reduce the importance of a representative body, you always start by limiting the number of members, as well as the functions ". That is, reducing the number of members of Parliament, a sovereign body as a direct emanation of the People, limits its already reduced functions (think of the same European constraints).

With the yes, contrary to what its supporters claim, legislative corruption will increase: the fewer the parliamentarians, the less a hypothetical briber will have to spend to obtain a favorable provision (and on the other hand, the more they are and the more difficult it will be to control them. A large parliament in fact " it is collectively stronger, even if some parliamentarians are willing to let themselves be bought and intimidated "(thus the political philosopher Maria Chiara Pievatolo ). Another argument of the yes is that deciding takes time and resources, and therefore it is a cost. that according to this thesis the same Parliament should be closed to be replaced by a single dictator with full powers, authoritative and capable of tackling unpopular measures and supporting them in the long term (think of the Monti reforms).

Finally, it is not at all true that Italy has the highest number of parliamentarians in Europe: we have (the comparison is on the lower house), in fact, one deputy for every hundred thousand inhabitants with a percentage of 1 (like UK, similar to France , Germany and the Netherlands with 0.9% and lower than Poland with 1.2% and Belgium with 1.3%). Much higher percentages have Austria (2.1), Denmark (3.1), Greece (2.8), Portugal (2.2), Sweden (3.4), Slovenia (4.4), Luxembourg (10) and Malta (14.3). With yes, on the other hand, we would have the lowest percentage of 0.7 in the EU.

The writer, of course, will strongly vote NO!

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Il Pedante at the URL http://ilpedante.org/post/perche-no on Thu, 17 Sep 2020 01:56:46 PDT.