Italian Political Structure Italian Political Structure OFFICIAL NAME: Italian Republic LEGAL SYSTEM: Based on constitution of 1948 NATIONAL LEGISLATURE: Bicameral: Senate of 315 seats; Chamber of Deputies of 630 seats NATIONAL ELECTIONS: May 13th 2001; next election due in 2006HEAD OF STATE: President, elected for a seven-year term by an electoral college of the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and representatives of regional councils.
The president chooses the prime minister and nominates a number of Supreme Court judges but has no executive powers. NATIONAL GOVERNMENT: Council of Ministers headed by a prime minister appointed by the president on the basis of ability to form a government with parliamentary support.
POLITICAL COALITIONS AND PARTIES: There are two broad coalitions: the right-of-centre Casa delle Liberta (House of Freedom) and the centre-left Ulivo (Olive Tree). The Casa includes Forza Italia, Alleanza Nazionale (AN), the Lega Nord (Northern League), the Centro Cristiano Democratico (CCD), and the Cristiani Democratici Uniti (CDU). The Ulivo includes the Democratici di Sinistra (DS), the Democratici per l'Ulivo (often referred to as plain Democratici), the Partito Popolare Italiano (PPI), Rinnovamento Italiano (RI), the centrist Unione Democratica per l'Europa (Udeur), the Partito dei Comunisti Italiani (PDCI), the Socialisti Democratici Italiani (SDI), and I Verdi. Parties not aligned to the two major blocs include the far-left Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (PRC), the Democratici Europei, led by the former trade unionist, Sergio D'Antoni, and the Radicali, fronted by Emma Bonino. Political structure: Under electoral rules introduced in 1994, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies are elected by a mix of first-past-the-post and proportional representation for a maximum of five years. The president is elected for a seven-year term. His main power is to decide whether to call an election or nominate a prime minister to try to form a government in the event of a political crisis. Executive power lies with the cabinet, which is nominated by the prime minister and must be approved by parliament.