Euronews spoke with Giovanni Guzzetta, professor of Public Law on the Faculty of Law at the University Tor Vergata of Rome and coordinator of the committee ‘Together we change’ to analyse the reasons to vote ‘yes’ in Sunday’s referendum on constitutional change. What’s the main reason for you to support “Yes”?”
“The main reason is that this is an extraordinary reform of a very beautiful constitution. Which has some dated parts. Dated because when the Constitution was written it was influenced by a very peculiar historic context. There was a very strong conflict between communism and anti-communism. The choice was for a weak government in which the majority couldn’t rule without the help of the opposition. The great democracies, like the British one, were the model but it was impossible to follow them. Today we can move forward. It’s a matter of eliminating some anomalies which make Italy a totally eccentric country compared to great democracies. Unfortunately, in Italy, everything becomes a political controversy and all campaigns tend to be used by political forces like during an electoral campaign and often the country is at stake”.
“Let’s talk about Senate reform: many jurists agree to cut out bicameralism but they do not agree with the citizens no longer having the right to elect senators. Could this change take away the sovereignty of the people as enshrined by the first article of the Constitution?”
“If this was true we should say that Germany takes away people’s sovereignty, France takes away people’s sovereignty, Canada removes people’s sovereignty. With such a kind of structure, with a parliamentary form of government in which the first Chamber gives confidence, no country in the world has a second elected Chamber. The only exception is Spain, where members are partly directly elected and partly elected by provincial councils. The new model chosen by the Italian reform, is a model that exists in the world, in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, for example. There is nothing subversive and certainly there is nothing undemocratic”.
According to eminent constitutionalists this reform will give excessive power to the government. Some talk about an authoritarian risk, a power that becomes oligarchic, an empty democracy. Why?
“For me it’s difficult to see an authoritarian approach in this reform. In this reform the Prime Minister cannot even dismiss ministers and certainly cannot dissolve parliament. I really can’t see this authoritarian
drift. In Italy authoritarianism is a very strong topic because history showed us that there have been periods of authoritarianism. This is a catchy topic, which creates terror, anxiety. But everyone forgets that the only real episode in Italy which brought to the establishment of an authoritarian regime, happened in 1922 when Mussolini was able to conquer the government of the country because at that time institutions were totally unable to govern and be efficient”.
Which is the weak point of this reform?
“The weak point of this reform is that perhaps didn’t made all the steps that we expected. But overall it’a a good reform. I am deeply convinced about that”.
*An interesting link for a better understanding: Why Italians should support Renzi’s constitutional reform