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Italy's website that tracks lawmaking is down — and no one knows why

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By Lillo Montalto Monella  & Alice Tidey
Italy's website that tracks lawmaking is down — and no one knows why

The Italian official website monitoring the implementation of governmental policies has been offline since the new populist executive came to power, a political association has revealed.

Established in April 2012 by the technocratic government of Mario Monti, the “Ufficio per il programma di Governo Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri” public portal has been used by successive governments to outline the progress of their policies through the legislative process.

“After the law [is passed], the technical, bureaucratic and practical aspects fall on the different ministries that have to rule on a series of measures to implement these rules,” Daniele De Bernardin of Open Polis, a political monitoring foundation in Italy, explained.

“The problem is that often implementing decrees have a deadline and monitoring these actions is important to see if a norm has been implemented or not.

"This site allowed, albeit with limits, to monitor the process of the legislative process. But with the beginning of the Conte government, the site is no longer available,” she said.

Opportunity for openness

Speaking to Euronews on Monday, the office of new Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that a “reorganisation of all the offices” is ongoing and that “it takes a few days” to get everything up and running again. Openpolis adds on Twitter that they have "no news of other Ministry websites going offline waiting for offices to be reorganised"

The office of Conte’s undersecretary, Giancarlo Giorgetti — a powerful figure in far-right League party — appears to now be responsible for the portal. But it said that it was not aware the site had been down and could not say whether it was due to a political decision or a technical problem.

The site’s registrar, the Agency for Digital Italy, said it was not responsible for “the maintenance and the contents” of the portal.

Open Polis has called on the government to clarify “why the site has gone offline, and what it intends to do” about it.

“The beginning of a new legislature, with a government born on the promise of bringing about strong change, can be an opportunity to start a real process of openness,” it said.