Senate of the Republic
Senato della Repubblica
President of the Senate
|Seats||315 elected senators|
+ 6 senators for life
| Government (165)|
Supported by (6)
|4 March 2018|
|No later than 2023|
|Palazzo Madama, Rome|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Senate of the Republic (Italian : Senato della Repubblica) or Senate (Italian : Senato) is a house of the bicameral Italian Parliament (the other being the Chamber of Deputies). The two houses together form a perfect bicameral system, meaning they perform identical functions, but do so separately. Pursuant to Articles 57, 58, and 59 of the Italian Constitution, the Senate has a variable number of members, of which 309 are elected from Italian constituencies, 6 from Italian citizens living abroad, and a small number (currently 6) are senators for life (senatori a vita), either appointed or ex officio. It was established in its current form on 8 May 1948, but previously existed during the Kingdom of Italy as Senato del Regno (Senate of the Kingdom), itself a continuation of the Senato Subalpino (Subalpine Senate) of Sardinia established on 8 May 1848. Members of the Senate are styled Senator or The Honourable Senator (Italian: Onorevole Senatore) and they meet at Palazzo Madama, Rome.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.
The Chamber of Deputies is a house of the bicameral Parliament of Italy. The two houses together form a perfect bicameral system, meaning they perform identical functions, but do so separately. Pursuant to article 56 of the Italian Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies has 630 seats, of which 618 are elected from Italian constituencies, and 12 from Italian citizens living abroad. Deputies are styled The Honourable and meet at Palazzo Montecitorio. The Chamber and the parliamentary system of the Italian Republic and under the previous Kingdom of Italy is a continuation of the traditions and procedures of the Parliament and Chamber of Deputies as established under King Charles Albert (1798–1849), during the Revolutions of 1848, and his son Victor Emmanuel II (1820–1878) of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont which led in the "Italian unification Risorgimento movement" of the 1850s and 1860s, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Count Camillo Benso of Cavour.
The Constitution of the Italian Republic was enacted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 December 1947, with 453 votes in favour and 62 against. The text, which has since been amended 15 times, was promulgated in the extraordinary edition of Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 298 on 27 December 1947. The Constituent Assembly was elected by universal suffrage on 2 June 1946, at the same time as a referendum on the abolition of the monarchy. The Constitution came into force on 1 January 1948, one century after the Statuto Albertino had been enacted. Although the latter remained in force after Benito Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922, it had become devoid of substantive value.
The Senate consists of 315 elected members, and as of 2018 [update] six senators for life. The elected senators must be over 40 years of age and are elected by Italian citizens aged 25 or older.
The Senate (except for six senators who represent Italians residing abroad and the senators for life) is elected on a regional basis. The 309 senators are assigned to each region proportionally according to their population. However, Article 57 of the Constitution provides that no region can have fewer than seven senators representing it, except for the Aosta Valley (which has one) and Molise (which has two).
The Aosta Valley is a mountainous autonomous region in northwestern Italy. It is bordered by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France, to the west, Valais, Switzerland, to the north and by the Metropolitan City of Turin in the region of Piedmont, Italy, to the south and east.
Molise is a region of Southern Italy. Until 1963, it formed part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise, alongside the region of Abruzzo. The split, which did not become effective until 1970, makes Molise the youngest region in Italy. The region covers 4,438 square kilometres (1,714 sq mi) and has a population of 313,348
The senators for life are composed of former Presidents of the Italian Republic who hold office ex officio , and up to five citizens who are appointed by the President "for outstanding merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field". The current life senators are:
|Senator for life||Appointment||Since||Parliamentary group|
| Giorgio Napolitano |
Politician, former President of the Republic
(Previously appointed by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi)
|14 January 2015 (ex officio)|
23 September 2005 to 15 May 2006 (appointed)
|For the Autonomies|
| Mario Monti |
Economist, former Prime Minister
|Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano||9 November 2011||Mixed Group|
| Elena Cattaneo |
Professor of pharmacology
|Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano||30 August 2013||For the Autonomies|
| Renzo Piano |
Pritzker Prize-winning architect
|Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano||30 August 2013||For the Autonomies|
| Carlo Rubbia |
Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist and inventor
|Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano||30 August 2013||For the Autonomies|
| Liliana Segre |
|Appointed by Sergio Mattarella||19 January 2018||Mixed Group|
The current term of the Senate is five years, except for senators for life that hold their office for their lifetime. Until a Constitutional change on February 9, 1963, the Senate was elected for six-year terms. The Senate may be dissolved before the expiration of its normal term by the President of the Republic (e.g. when no government can obtain a majority).
The President of the Italian Republic is the head of state of Italy and in that role represents national unity and guarantees that Italian politics comply with the Constitution. The President's term of office lasts for seven years. The 11th President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, was elected on 10 May 2006 and elected to a second term for the first time in Italian Republic history on 20 April 2013. Following Napolitano's resignation, the incumbent President, former Constitutional judge Sergio Mattarella, was elected at the fourth ballot with 665 votes out of 1,009 on 31 January 2015.
In 2016, Italian Parliament passed a constitutional law that "effectively abolishes the Senate as an elected chamber and sharply restricts its ability to veto legislation". The law was rejected on December 4, 2016 by a referendum,leaving the Senate unchanged.
According to article 58 of the Italian constitution, people aged more than 25 years are enabled to vote for the Senate.
The electoral system is a parallel voting system, with 37% of seats allocated using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) and 63% using proportional representation, allocated with the largest remainder method, with one round of voting.
The voter can cast their vote in three different ways:
The current membership of the Senate of the Republic, following the latest political elections of 4 March 2018:
|Centre-right coalition||League (L)||58||18.4|
|Forza Italia (FI)||58||18.4|
|Brothers of Italy (FdI)||16||5.1|
|Us with Italy (NcI)||5||1.6|
|Five Star Movement (M5S)||112||35.5|
|Centre-left coalition||Democratic Party (PD)||53||16.8|
|More Europe (+E)||1||0.3|
|Popular Civic List (CP)||1||0.3|
|Aosta Valley (VdA)||1||0.3|
|Free and Equal (LeU)||4||1.3|
|Associative Movement Italians Abroad (MAIE)||1||0.3|
|South American Union Italian Emigrants (USEI)||1||0.3|
Under the current Constitution, the Senate must hold its first sitting no later than 20 days after a general election. That session, presided by the oldest senator, proceeds to elect the President of the Senate for the following parliamentary period. On the first two attempts at voting, an absolute majority of all senators is needed; if a third round is needed, a candidate can be elected by an absolute majority of the senators present and voting. If this third round fails to produce a winner, a final ballot is held between the two senators with the highest votes in the previous ballot. In the case of a tie, the elder senator is deemed the winner.
In addition to overseeing the business of the chamber, chairing and regulating debates, deciding whether motions and bills are admissible, representing the Senate, etc., the President of the Senate stands in for the President of the Republic when the latter is unable to perform the duties of the office; in this case the Senate is headed by a vice president.
The current President of the Senate is Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati.
Recent Presidents of the Italian Senate:
|Ivanoe Bonomi (PSDI)||8 May 1948 – 20 April 1951||I|
|Enrico De Nicola (PLI)||28 April 1951 – 24 June 1952||I|
|Giuseppe Paratore (PLI)||26 June 1952 – 24 March 1953||I|
|Meuccio Ruini (Independent)||25 March 1953 – 25 June 1953||I|
|Cesare Merzagora (Independent)||25 June 1953 – 7 November 1967||II, III, IV|
|Ennio Zelioli-Lanzini (DC)||8 November 1967 – 4 June 1968||IV|
|Amintore Fanfani (DC)||5 June 1968 – 26 June 1973||V, VI|
|Giovanni Spagnolli (DC)||27 June 1973 – 4 July 1976||VI|
|Amintore Fanfani (DC)||5 July 1976 – 1 December 1982||VII, VIII|
|Tommaso Morlino (DC)||9 December 1982 – 6 May 1983||VIII|
|Vittorino Colombo (DC)||12 May 1983 – 11 July 1983||VIII|
|Francesco Cossiga (DC)||12 July 1983 – 24 June 1985||IX|
|Amintore Fanfani (DC)||9 July 1985 – 17 April 1987||IX|
|Giovanni Malagodi (PLI)||22 April 1987 – 1 July 1987||IX|
|Giovanni Spadolini (PRI)||2 July 1987 – 16 April 1994||X, XI|
|Carlo Scognamiglio (FI)||16 April 1994 – 9 May 1996||XII|
|Nicola Mancino (PPI)||9 May 1996 – 30 May 2001||XIII|
|Marcello Pera (FI)||30 May 2001 – 29 April 2006||XIV|
|Franco Marini (PD)||29 April 2006 – 29 April 2008||XV|
|Renato Schifani (PdL)||29 April 2008 – 16 March 2013||XVI|
|Pietro Grasso (PD)||16 March 2013 – 23 March 2018||XVII|
|Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati (FI)||24 March 2018 – present||XVIII|
Since 1871, the Senate has met in Palazzo Madama in Rome, an old patrician palace completed in 1505 for the Medici family. The palace takes its name from Madama Margherita of Austria, daughter of Charles V and wife of Alessandro de' Medici. After the extinction of the Medici, the palace was handed over to the House of Lorraine. and, later, it was sold to Papal Government.
Later, in 1755, Pope Benedict XIV (whose coat of arms still dominates the main entrance) ordered major restructuring, entrusting the work to Luigi Hostini. In the following years there were installed the court offices and police headquarters. In 1849, Pius IX moved the Ministries of Finances and of the Public Debt here, as well as the Papal Post Offices. After the conquest of Rome by the newly formed Kingdom of Italy, the palace was chosen to become the seat of the Senato del Regno (Senate of the Kingdom).
Palazzo Madama and the adjacent buildings underwent further restructuring and adaptation in the first decades of the 20th century. A radical transformation which involved, among other things, the modernization of the hemicycle, the full remaking of the prospectus on Via San Salvatore and Via Dogana Vecchia, and the establishment of a connection with the adjacent Palazzo Carpegna. The latter, owned by the Senate, was entirely rebuilt in an advanced position compared to its original position. The small church of San Salvatore in Thermis, dating to the 6th century, which stood in the street to the left of the palace, was first closed, expropriated and later razed for security reasons.
The current façade was built in the mid-1650s by both Cigoli and Paolo Maruccelli. The latter added the ornate cornice and whimsical decorative urns on the roof. Among the rooms one of the most significant (and perhaps the most impressive from the political point of view) is the "Sala Maccari," which takes its name from Cesare Maccari, the artist who decorated it in 1880 and created the frescoes, among which stands out as one that depicts Cicero makes his indictment of Catiline, who listens, isolated from their seats.
The chamber where the Senate met for the first time on 27 November 1871 was designed by Luigi Gabet. A plaque on the wall behind the speaker's chair commemorates the king's address to Parliament when first convened in the new seat of government:
L'ITALIA È RESTITVITA A SE STESSA E A
ROMA • QVI E' DOVE NOI RICONOSCIAMO LA
PATRIA DEI NOSTRI PENSIERI; OGNI COSA
CI PARLA DI GRANDEZZA MA NEL TEMPO
STESSO OGNI COSA CI RICORDA I NOSTRI
VITTORIO EMANVELE II
27 NOVEMBRE MDCCCLXXI
"Italy is restored to herself and to Rome... Here, where we recognise the fatherland of our thoughts, all things speak to us of greatness; but at the same time all things remind us of our duties..." - Victor Emmanuel II, 27 November 1871
Above this has been placed a plaque bearing the inscription:
IL 2 GIUGNO 1946
PER SUFFRAGIO DI POPOLO
A PRESIDIO DI PUBBLICHE LIBERTÀ
E A CERTEZZA DI PROGRESSO CIVILE
LA REPUBBLICA ITALIANA
On 2 June 1946
by popular suffrage
in defence of public liberty
and a certainty of civic progress
the Italian Republic
To the viewers' left stand the flags of the Italian Republic (with a ribbon embroidered with the words SENATO DELLA REPUBBLICA) and the European Union.
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