Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Silvio's Stability

While Czech politicians want to keep stability by gentlemen's agreements and unwritten constitutional customs, Italian Silvio Berlusconi chose different method – set of comprehensive constitutional reforms. Italian Parliament is going to have number of its members reduced by third, Senate is going to be elected by regional assemblies instead of by direct vote, Prime Minister would gain powers to sack and appoint ministers directly, parties in government coalitions would be forbidden to leave…

Needless to say, Berlusconi would like to justify those reforms with the desire to introduce more stability in Italian politics, notorious for its unpredictability. Until 1990s Italian cabinets, based on coalitions composed of many small parties, had average lifespan of one year. Same phenomenon persevered even after 1990s reforms designed to decrease the influence of small parties and Silvio Berlusconi himself had to leave office thanks to one of his partners stabbing him in the back. Berlusconi wants to prevent this from happening again…

...and grabbing more and more power has nothing to do with it, of course. Political stability is the aim that justifies all means. Democracy, minority rights and rule of law should never stand in the way of political stability. So, if this new set of reforms passes in Italian Parliament (which isn't likely, due to two-thirds majority) next step would be abolition of all political parties except the one holding power. This would make Italy even more stable. After all, Berlusconi's role model is his predecessor who presided over the most stable period in Italian history – between 1922 and 1943.


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