I Presidenti di Assemblea parlamentare
Riflessioni su un ruolo in trasformazione
Il ruolo dei Presidenti di Assemblea parlamentare è stato, nel corso degli ultimi vent’anni, oggetto di trasformazioni il cui significato è assai dibattuto, anche in relazione al loro carattere permanente o transeunte e alla loro natura “fisiologica” o “patologica” (in rapporto alle dinamiche della forma di governo). I lavori qui raccolti, frutto di ricerche originali condotte da costituzionalisti che si occupano anche di diritto parlamentare, si pongono l’obiettivo di dipanare tale dibattito offrendo un’analisi dettagliata dei molti poteri e delle tante “vesti” in cui operano i Presidenti di Assemblea. Sono dunque esaminati i poteri presidenziali nella classica dinamica tra maggioranza e opposizione, ma anche quelli nelle sessioni di bilancio, o quelli che incidono sui gruppi o sulle commissioni parlamentari (e sui loro Presidenti). Sono affrontati inoltre profili normalmente sottaciuti ma essenziali, quali i rapporti con i Vicepresidenti o il ruolo spettante, a inizio legislatura, al Presidente provvisorio. Un’attenzione specifica è rivolta al versante “relazionale” dell’attività dei Presidenti delle Camere, in ambito internazionale oltre che nei rapporti con il Presidente della Repubblica e con la Corte costituzionale (e la sua giurisprudenza). Infine, due contributi sono dedicati al ruolo dei Presidenti delle Assemblee regionali.
The role of the Presidents of the Italian Chambers and of the Regional Councils has been affected by several and significant changes over the last twenty years. Generally, the existence of this process of transformation has not been questioned. On the contrary, the meaning, the intensity, the endurance, the physiological or pathological character of these changes are debated, especially in the framework of a comparison with some foreign experiences.
This collection of essays represents the starting point of a research developed by scholars coming from different universities and methodological approaches. Nonetheless, the authors are constitutional lawyers who share a common interest in the study of the Parliament and its rules. The aim of the book is to reconstruct in detail the powers and the “faces” of the Presidents in parliamentary procedures, including those that have been developed more informally.
Therefore, these essays analyze the powers of the Presidents of the two Chambers in the classical and fundamental dynamic between majority and opposition (Vincenzo Casamassima). Furthermore, it investigates the relationship between the Presidents and parliamentary groups (also in the light of new rules of order introduced about for the latter by both Houses in the autumn of 2012: Francesca Biondi) and the standing committees (in particular the committees’ Chairmen: Cristina Fasone). They analyze subjects usually overlooked, but essential, like the relationship between the Presidents and the Vice Presidents (Luca Gori) or the role of the provisional President (Giovanni Piccirilli).
Specific attention has been devoted to the “relational” aspect of the Presidents’ activities, which have strongly increased in the last few years: in the framework of inter-parliamentary cooperation in Europe (Maria Dicosola); in foreign policy (Fabio Longo); in their relationship with the Government, which is of paramount importance in the perspective of the constitutional system’s balance (here analyzed in the particular, though crucial, field of the “budget session”: Chiara Bergonzini); in the relationship with the President of the Republic (Federico Furlan) and the Constitutional Court (and its jurisprudence: Francesca Rosa).
Finally, some of the contributions to the present volume focus on the role of the Regional Assemblies’ Presiding Officers. Like the President of the two Chambers, also the position of these Presiding Officers has been subject to significant developments in the past years. Such developments, although not particularly evident to the public, are undoubtedly of great interest. Notwithstanding the fact that they are usually elected by and within the majority, the Presiding Officers of the Regional Assemblies seem to be more aligned with the trend of the impartial speakership emerged at national level in the 1970s and the 1980s. Namely, Renato Ibrido deals with the profile of the interpretative powers of the Regional Assemblies’ Presiding Officers, while Giovanna Perniciaro analyzes the relationships of the Presiding Officers with the parliamentary groups within the Regional Councils.
The essays are preceded by three introductions, which offer – respectively – a contextual analysis (Nicola Lupo), a systemic view (Eduardo Gianfrancesco), and a diachronic perspective (Claudio De Cesare). They are also accompanied by some conclusive remarks, which shift from the role of the Presidents of the Chambers within the parliamentary system to tackle the traditional question about the suitability of these officers in order to ensure the respect of the rules of parliamentary law (Guido Rivosecchi).
The book is published in times of deep transformations, shortly after the conclusion of XVI legislative term (2008-2013), which was strongly characterized by the contrasts between the President of Chamber of Deputies, Gianfranco Fini, and the President of the Council of Ministers, Silvio Berlusconi. After the experience of the Monti Government, the start of the XVII legislative was no less problematic, with the difficulty to form a new government after the elections of February 2013. This political phase has highlighted many unsolved institutional problems of the last twenty years and has ended up with the election of two Presidents devoid of any previous political experience.
Furthermore, these very recent developments are object of a first analysis in this volume. However, it will be necessary to wait for an adjustment of institutional framework to reach a more formed and informed evaluation. It is not by coincidence that in the last few months the constitutional revision (especially of the “perfect” bicameralism), the drafting of a new electoral law (an integral part of the parliamentary law) and the reforms of parliamentary rules of procedure have been re-activated and seen as strictly intertwined. The prospective role of the Presidents of the Chambers will be linked also to these paths of reform. Ultimately, the Presidents played and will certainly continue to play a crucial role in the asset of the relationships among the political subjects and, at the same time, among constitutional bodies.