An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is smaller and has more restricted power than the lower house. Examples of upper houses in countries include the Australian Senate, Brazil's Senado Federal, the Canadian Senate, France's Sénat, Germany's Bundesrat, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, the Netherlands' Eerste Kamer, Pakistan's Senate of Pakistan, Russia's Federation Council, Switzerland's Council of States, United Kingdom's House of Lords and the United States Senate. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral. An upper house is different from the lower house in at least one of the following respects: Powers: In a parliamentary system, it has much less power than the lower house. Therefore, in certain countries the Upper House votes on only limited legislative matters, such as constitutional amendments, cannot initiate most kinds of legislation those pertaining to supply/money, cannot vote a motion of no confidence against the government, while the lower house always can.
In a presidential system: It may have nearly equal power with the lower house. It may have specific powers not granted to the lower house. For example: It may give consent to some executive decisions, it may have the sole power to try impeachment cases against officials of the executive or judicial branch, following enabling resolutions passed by the lower house. It may have the sole power to ratify treaties. In a semi-presidential system, like France It may have less power than the lower house: in France, the Government can decide to legislate a normal law without the Sénat's agreement, but It may have equal power to the lower house regarding the constitution or the territorial collectivities, it may not vote a motion of no confidence against the government, but it may investigate State cases. It may make proposals of laws to the lower house. Status: In some countries, its members are not popularly elected, its members may be elected with a different voting system than that used to elect the lower house.
Less populated states, provinces, or administrative divisions may be better represented in the upper house than in the lower house. Members' terms may be for life. Members may be elected in portions, for staggered terms, rather than all at one time. In some countries, the upper house cannot be dissolved at all, or can be dissolved only in more limited circumstances than the lower house, it has fewer members or seats than the lower house. It has a higher age of candidacy than the lower house. In parliamentary systems the upper house is seen as an advisory or "revising" chamber; some or all of the following restrictions are placed on upper houses: Lack of control over the executive branch. No absolute veto of proposed legislation, though suspensive vetoes are permitted in some states. In countries where it can veto legislation, it may not be able to amend the proposals. A reduced or absent role in initiating legislation. No power to block supply, or budget measures In parliamentary democracies and among European upper houses the Italian Senate is a notable exception to these general rules, in that it has the same powers as its lower counterpart: any law can be initiated in either house and must be approved in the same form by both houses.
Additionally, a Government must have the consent of both to remain in office, a position, known as "perfect bicameralism" or "equal bicameralism". The role of a revising chamber is to scrutinise legislation that may have been drafted over-hastily in the lower house and to suggest amendments that the lower house may reject if it wishes to. An example is the British House of Lords. Under the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, the House of Lords can no longer prevent the passage of most bills, but it must be given an opportunity to debate them and propose amendments, can thereby delay the passage of a bill with which it disagrees. Bills can only be delayed for up to one year before the Commons can use the Parliament Act, although economic bills can only be delayed for one month, it is sometimes seen as having a special role of safeguarding the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom and important civil liberties against ill-considered change. The British House of Lords has a number of ways to block legislation and to reject it, the House of Commons can use the Parliament Act to force something through.
The Commons will bargain and negotiate with the Lords such as wh
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Giuseppe Conte is an Italian jurist and politician serving as the 58th and current Prime Minister of Italy since 1 June 2018. A professor of private law, Conte was first proposed on 21 May 2018 for the role of Prime Minister as the head of a coalition government between the Five Star Movement and the League, but he relinquished his role when Paolo Savona, picked for Minister of Economy and Finance, was vetoed by President Sergio Mattarella. On 31 May, the two parties reached an agreement, proposing Giovanni Tria as Minister of Economy and Finances, Conte was called to take the oath of office on the following day. Conte's cabinet, which includes Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio and the League leader Matteo Salvini, is considered by many newspapers such as The New York Times and la Repubblica as the first populist government in modern Western Europe. Moreover, he was the first person to assume the premiership without prior government or administrative service since Silvio Berlusconi in 1994 and the first Prime Minister from Southern Italy since the Christian Democrat Ciriaco De Mita in 1989.
Conte was born on 8 August 1964 into a middle class family near Foggia. His father Nicola was a public employee in the local municipality while his mother Lillina Roberti was an elementary school teacher. After his family moved to San Giovanni Rotondo, Conte attended the Classical Lyceum "Pietro Giannone" in nearby San Marco in Lamis and studied Law at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he graduated in 1988 with distinction. For short terms, Conte studied abroad. In 1992, he moved to the United States to study at Yale Law School and Duquesne University and at the International Culture Institute in Vienna in 1993, he researched or lectured at Sorbonne University in 2000, Girton College, Cambridge in 2001 and New York University in 2008. He started his academic career during the 1990s, when he taught at Roma Tre University, at LUMSA University of Rome, at the University of Malta and at the University of Sassari. Conte is professor of private law at the University of Florence and at LUISS of Rome.
He sits on the board of trustees of John Cabot University in Rome. On 18 September 2013, he was elected by the Chamber of Deputies as a member of the Bureau of Administrative Justice, the self-governing body of administrative magistrates. In February 2018, Conte was selected by Luigi Di Maio, leader of the Five Star Movement, as the future possible Minister of Public Administration in his cabinet following the 2018 general election. However, the election resulted in a hung parliament, with the M5S that became the party with the largest number of votes and of parliamentary seats while the centre-right coalition, led by Matteo Salvini's League and other right-wing parties, emerged with a plurality of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate; the centre-left coalition led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi came third. On 9 May, after weeks of political deadlock and the failure of various attempts of forming cabinets both between M5S–Centre-right and M5S–Democratic Party, Di Maio and Salvini responded to President Sergio Mattarella's ultimatum to appoint a neutral technocratic caretaker government by requesting that he allow them 24 more hours to achieve a governing agreement between their two parties.
That same day in the evening, Silvio Berlusconi publicly announced Forza Italia would not support a M5S–League government on a vote of confidence, but he would still maintain the centre-right alliance nonetheless, thus opening the doors to a possible majority government between the two parties. On 13 May, M5S and League reached an agreement in principle on a government program clearing the way for the formation of a governing coalition between the two parties, but could not find an agreement regarding the members of a government cabinet, most the Prime Minister. M5S and League leaders met with President Sergio Mattarella on 14 May to guide the formation of a new government. On their meeting with President Mattarella, both parties asked for an additional week of negotiations to agree on a detailed government program and a Prime Minister to lead the joint government. Both M5S and the League announced their intention to ask their respective members to vote on the government agreement by the weekend.
On 21 May, Conte was proposed by Di Maio and Salvini for the role of Prime Minister in the 2018 Italian government, despite reports in the Italian press suggesting that President Mattarella still had significant reservations about the direction of the new government. On 23 May, Conte was invited to the Quirinal Palace to receive the presidential mandate to form a new cabinet. In the traditional statement after the appointment, Conte said that he would be the "defense lawyer of Italian people". On 27 May, Conte renounced his office due to contrasts between President Mattarella. Salvini proposed the university professor Paolo Savona as Minister of Economy and Finances, but Mattarella opposed him, considering Savona too Eurosceptic and anti-German. In his speech after Conte's resignation, Mattarella declared that the two parties wanted to bring Italy out of the Eurozone and as the guarantor of Italian Constitution and country's interest and stability he could not allow this. On the following day, Mattarella gave Carlo Cottarelli, a former director of the International Monetary Fund, the task of forming a new government.
On 28 May, the Democratic Party announced that it would abstain from voting the confidence to Cottarelli while the M5S and the center-right parties Forza Italia, Brothers of Italy and the League announced their vote against. Cottarelli was expected to submit his list of ministers for approval to President
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Five Star Movement
The Five Star Movement is a political party in Italy. The M5S was founded on 4 October 2009 by Beppe Grillo, a comedian and blogger, Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist. After Casaleggio's death in April 2016, Grillo appointed a directorate composed of five leading MPs, which lasted until the following October when he dissolved it and proclaimed himself the "political head" of the M5S. Grillo is formally president of the association named the Five Star Movement. Davide Casaleggio, Gianroberto's son, has an important albeit unofficial role; the M5S is variously considered populist, anti-establishment, anti-globalist and Eurosceptic. The party has been described as New Right and described by some as being right-wing due to its anti-immigration stance despite its promotion of policies advocated by the Italian left-wing, such as citizen's income and green-inspired policies. Grillo himself once provocatively referred to the movement as "populist", its members stress that the M5S is not a party but a "movement", it may not be included in the traditional left–right paradigm.
The "five stars" are a reference to five key issues for the party: public water, sustainable transport, sustainable development, right to Internet access, environmentalism. The party advocates e-democracy, direct democracy, the principle of "zero-cost politics", degrowth and nonviolence. In the 2013 general election, the M5S won the most votes of all parties for the Chamber of Deputies. However, its deputies only held 109 of 630 positions. Since the 2014 European Parliament election, the M5S has been part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament, along with the UK Independence Party and minor right-wing parties. In January 2017, M5S members voted in favor of Grillo's proposal to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group, but the party was refused, M5S continues to be part of the EFDD group. In 2016, two party members, Virginia Raggi and Chiara Appendino, were elected mayors of Rome and Turin, respectively. On 21–22 September 2017, the Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies Luigi Di Maio was elected with 82% of votes in an online primary election as candidate to the premiership and "political head" of the movement, replacing Grillo as leader of the M5S, but not as the M5S's "guarantor".
In January 2018, Grillo separated his own blog from the movement, used in the previous years as an M5S online newspaper and the main propaganda tool. In the 2018 general election, the M5S became the largest individual party in the Italian Parliament and entered government. On 16 July 2005, Beppe Grillo suggested through his blog that supporters adopt social networks, such as Meetup, to communicate and coordinate local meetings; the first "40 Friends of Beppe Grillo" meetups began with the initial aim to "have fun, get together, share ideas and proposals for a better world, starting from one's own city, discuss and develop my posts, if you believe them". Meetups featured thematic working groups on topics entitled "technology and innovation", "press-communication", "ethical consumerism", "currency study", "no incinerators" and others. From these beginnings, Grillo was asked to stand in the October 2005 primaries for the selection of the prime ministerial candidate of the centre-left coalition, The Union.
On three occasions, the representatives of the Friends of Beppe Grillo meetups held national meetings with Grillo, where proposals regarding environmental issues such as the replacement of polluting incinerators with systems applying mechanical-biological waste treatment were discussed. During the fourth national meeting held in Genoa on 3 February 2007, Grillo announced his desire to provide an autonomous space during his touring shows for local meetup activists. On 14 July 2007, some civic list representatives who participated in local elections the previous spring met in Parma to establish a national coordination between associations and organisations, they met to practise promoting and experimenting with direct and participatory democracy and to share a document of intent, which included the establishment of proposals, repealing referenda, the direct election of the Ombudsman, the institution of participatory budgeting, a "bound" mandate for public administrators and open primaries. On 14 June 2007, Grillo launched V-Day, in Bologna.
V-Day was meant to mobilize the collection of signatures to submit a popular initiative seeking to introduce preferences in the current electoral law and to prevent parliamentary candidate nominations for the criminally convicted and those who have completed two terms in office. The name V-Day was chosen to reflect four references; the first refers to the Normandy landings of the Allies in Normandy during World War II in order to symbolise how Italian citizens would "invade" bad policy. The second refers to the motion picture and graphic novel V for Vendetta which the Five Stars Movement relates with its principles of political renewal; the third refers to the interjection "vaffanculo" directed at bad policy. The fourth is a reference to the Roman numeral for five. V-Day, which continued the "Clean Parliament" initiative promoted by Grillo since 2006, took place in many I
Democratic Party (Italy)
The Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in Italy. The party's secretary is Nicola Zingaretti, elected in March 2019, while Paolo Gentiloni serves as president; the PD was founded on 14 October 2007 upon the merger of various centre-left parties, part of The Olive Tree list and The Union coalition in the 2006 general election. They notably included: the social-democratic Democrats of the Left, successors of the Italian Communist Party and the Democratic Party of the Left, folded with several social-democratic parties in 1998; the PD's main ideological trends are thus social democracy and the Italian Christian leftist tradition. The party has been influenced by social liberalism, present in some of the founding components of the DS and DL, more by a Third Way progressivism; the PD was the second-largest party in Italy in the 2018 general election, the third-largest in the Chamber of Deputies and the fourth-largest in the Senate. Between 2013 and 2018 the Italian government was led by three successive Democratic Prime Ministers: Enrico Letta, Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni.
As of April 2019, Democrats head eight regional governments, function as government coalition partners in two more regions. Prominent Democrats include Walter Veltroni, Dario Franceschini, Maurizio Martina, Piero Fassino, Marco Minniti, Graziano Delrio, Pier Carlo Padoan, Carlo Calenda, Maria Elena Boschi, Federica Mogherini, Debora Serracchiani, Lorenzo Guerini, Ettore Rosato, Matteo Orfini, Luigi Zanda, Sergio Chiamparino, Stefano Bonaccini, Vincenzo De Luca, Michele Emiliano, Giuseppe Sala, Leoluca Orlando, Virginio Merola and Dario Nardella. Former members include Giorgio Napolitano, Sergio Mattarella, Romano Prodi, Giuliano Amato, Massimo D'Alema, Pier Luigi Bersani, Guglielmo Epifani, Francesco Rutelli and Pietro Grasso. In the early 1990s, following Tangentopoli scandals, the end of the so-called First Republic and the transformation of the Italian Communist Party into the Democratic Party of the Left, a process aimed at uniting left-wing and centre-left forces into a single political entity was started.
In 1995 Romano Prodi, a former minister of Industry on behalf of the left-wing faction of Christian Democracy, entered politics and founded The Olive Tree, a centre-left coalition including the PDS, the Italian People's Party, the Federation of the Greens, Italian Renewal, the Italian Socialists and Democratic Union. The coalition, in alliance with the Communist Refoundation Party, won the 1996 general election and Prodi became Prime Minister. In February 1998 the PDS merged with minor social-democratic parties to become the Democrats of the Left, while in March 2002 the PPI, RI and The Democrats became Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy. In the summer of 2003 Prodi suggested that the centre-left forces would participate in the 2004 European Parliament election with a common list. Whereas the Union of Democrats for Europe and the far-left parties refused, four parties accepted: the DS, DL, the Italian Democratic Socialists and the European Republicans Movement, they launched a joint list named "United in the Olive Tree", which ran in the election and garnered 31.1% of the vote.
The project was abandoned in 2005 by the SDI. In the 2006 general election the list obtained 31.3% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies. The project of a "Democratic Party" was mentioned by Prodi as the natural evolution of The Olive Tree and was bluntly envisioned by Michele Salvati, a former centrist deputy of the DS, in an appeal in Il Foglio newspaper in April 2013; the term Partito Democratico was used for the first time in a formal context by the DL and DS members of the Regional Council of Veneto, who chose to form a joint group named The Olive Tree – Venetian Democratic Party in March 2007. The 2006 election result, anticipated by the 2005 primary election in which over four million voters endorsed Prodi as candidate for Prime Minister, gave a push to the project of a unified centre-left party. Eight parties agreed to merge into the PD: Democrats of the Left Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy. Southern Democratic Party. While the DL agreed to the merger with no resistance, the DS experienced a more heated final congress.
On 19 April 2007 75% of party members voted in support of the merger of the DS into the PD. The left-wing opposition, led by Fabio Mussi, obtained just 15% of the support within the party. A third motion, presented by Gavino Angius and supportive of the PD only within the Party of European Socialists, obtained 10% of the vote. During and following the congress, both Mussi and Angius announced their intention not to joi
High Council of Defence (Italy)
The High Council of Defence is an Italian institution of constitutional importance which controls the Italian Armed Forces. The Italian Constitutional Convention of 1947, mindful of High Commissions of Defence of the statuary tradition and taking inspiration from the High Council of National Defence of the Fourth French Republic, gave the President of Italy, as Head of State, the role of President of the High Council of Defence, along with several other roles; the Constitution did not state how this council would be organised or what its powers were, leaving this for the Italian Parliament to determine. The Consiglio Supremo di Difesa was created by Law no. 624 of 28 July 1950, during the Korean War, in light of fear that the conflict might spread to Europe. The ultimate responsibility for political and technical matters of national security was given to its members: the President, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, as well as the Ministers of the Interior, of Foreign Affairs, of the Treasury, of Industry and Commerce.
The law left several important issues undefined, such as the exact legal nature of the council and its place within the Italian constitutional system. The references in the Constitution are capable of multiple interpretations, as are the law of 1950 and the Presidential Decree no. 251 of 4 August 1990. As a result, most of the internal organisation and powers of the council are regulated de facto rather than de jure; the continually changing balance of power between the key institutions of the Italian State, along with the lack of published guidelines on the workings and activities of the Consiglio Supremo di Difesa, have prevented its functions from being solidified by any sort of constitutional convention more durable than the tenures of the individual officeholders who have sat on it. When the law of 1950 was passed, President Luigi Einaudi, Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi, Defence Minister Randolfo Pacciardi agreed on the role and nature of the council, leaving a record of this in the preamble of the 1951 regulation.
But this constitutional convention did not last long and the council that emerged under President Giovanni Gronchi was different from that of the early 1950s. The council is thus a "chameleontic institution", whose nature is shaped by the various political and institutional contexts which face Italy at any moment: from a collegial institution with specific powers to a mere site of conflict between the President and the Prime Minister, without any autonomy; the High Council of Defence is chaired by the President of the Republic of Italy and, according to the statement of Law no.624/1950, it "examines the general political and technical problems related to national defence and determines policies and issues directives for the organisation and the coordination of activities which relate to it in anyway."It is regulated by the terms of title II of Decree no.66 of 15 March 2010. The council is chaired by the President of Italy and is composed of: Prime Minister of Italy, the Vice-President of the Council Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Defence Minister of the Interior Minister of Economy and Finance Minister of Economic Development Chief of the Defence StaffThe Secretary of the High Council of Defence, appointed by the council itself, is a permanent and autonomous office.
Meetings of the Council can be attended by the heads of the four armed forces, the President of the Council of State, any other individuals with particular scientific and economic knowledge or expertise in military problems. The High Council of Defence meets at least twice a year and is convened by the President, but it can be convened at the request of the Prime Minister whenever necessary; the council examines general issues relating to national defence on the basis of general directives formulated by the executive and the Parliament and produces directives which are binding on the President, the Council of Ministers and the leaders of the armed forces. Its powers are defined in negative terms, such that in practice the majority of the practical decision-making powers mentioned in Law no.624/1950 belong to other institutions. In particular, those elements of the political process which relate to foreign affairs and military policy belong to the executive, the Chief of the Defence Staff is responsible for the formulation of strategic plans and the defence of the borders.
As a result, the council limited to playing a consultative and advisory role to the Council of Ministers, much like an Inter-ministerial Committee. Antonio Intelisano, "Il Consiglio Supremo di Difesa nel sistema costituzionale," Rivista Militare no. 2: 4-11. Riccardo Bellandi, Il Consiglio supremo di difesa. Storia, attività, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2011