Gelmini: “The Head of State is still an arbitrator, the appointment of ministers to the Prime Minister”

Mariastella Gelmini, deputy secretary of Action, senator, what do you think of the constitutional reform proposal being carried out by the centre-right?
“It is difficult to give an opinion on something that does not yet exist… So far we have only attended a double round of consultations, first by Minister Casellati, then by the President of the Government, but there is still no organic proposal. However, if the rumors about Giorgia Meloni’s desire to keep the Quirinal out of reform were true, we would be facing an important step forward. For us it was the precondition to start a confrontation”.

Minister Casellati declared that, with several nuances, the most viable option is the presidency. Is this also your case of Action?
“We said, from the first moment, that we share the need to strengthen and stabilize the executive but that it was not the presidents of the Republic who caused the existence of sixty-eight governments in seventy years. The right path is neither presidentialism in its pure, American version, nor the average version of French-style semi-presidentialism. For us, the President of the Republic must remain a referee, not a player on the field. So yes, the best option is that of the prime minister: it can be discussed, even if it alone is not enough».

Are the positions with your (former?) IV allies the same?
“We are still allies, we work together in parliamentary groups and together we went to Giorgia Meloni’s consultations on institutional reforms, so yes, although we will remain two different parties, the position is the same. Renzi has always talked about “the mayor of Italy”, we have always talked about strengthening the executives and indicating the prime minister by the voters».

What interests should this eventual reform have, in your opinion?
“We clearly told Giorgia Meloni that you cannot intervene only in the presidency or the prime minister and that you also need to lend a hand to the functions of the Chambers because it is absurd that (theoretically) both do the same job. and that they are systematically deprived of authority: we are already in de facto unicameralism and the laws are made only by the government”.

Should ministers be appointed by the prime minister or should the head of state continue to do so?
“It is necessary to find the right balance between the need to guarantee stability and respect for the will of the voters and to keep intact the guarantee role of the President of the Republic to the maximum. Having said that, the appointment of ministers, but also their possible revocation or replacement, should be entrusted to the prime minister. On the other hand, I would not give him the power to dissolve the Chambers».

In the combination of presidentialism and differentiated autonomy, what risks do you see for the stability of the country?
“It depends on how one or the other is achieved. Differentiated autonomy is foreseen by the Constitution: it must be achieved without dividing the country and without creating 21 autonomous republics. If we translate presidentialism into a prime minister, it is not a threat to democracy. But we will be able to assess all this once there is a text to discuss: if we stick to slogans, we will only have an ideological clash that is not good for the country”.

Can the direct election of the prime minister be obtained by changing only the electoral law? And with which?
“The Constitution forbids it: in the Second Republic the obstacle was overcome with semi-majority electoral laws or with majority awards in which the parties indicated the ‘head of the coalition’. Only then the governments did not last. If it were enough to intervene with the electoral law, we would not be here discussing the reform of the constitution. Regarding the electoral law, we will talk about it: personally, I wouldn’t see a problem with a proportional system with a majority bonus”.

Source : IL Messaggero

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