The political history of Italy has been an undeniably turbulent one. The country's political system has been repeatedly threatened by the historical existence of extremist parties on the left and right, an economy which struggles to adapt, the cleavage between a developed north and an underdeveloped south, the challenge posed by terrorist groups and organized crime, high public debt, and governments that last on average only ten months. Paradoxically, however, Italy continues to muddle through from one political crisis to another with one of the world's highest standards of living and quality of life. What is the secret of Italian politics?
Robert Leonardi is Professor of Political Science at the LUISS University in Rome.
1. The nexus between socio-economic and political change in Italy.- 2. The impact of economic challenges on Italy's political system.- 3. Parliament.- 4. The executive branch.- 5. The judicial system.- 6. The electoral system and the search for political advantage.- 7. The political party system.- 8. Organized groups and civil society.- 9. Italy as an international actor.- 10. Conclusions.