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[ cerca in archivio ] ARCHIVIO STORICO RADICALE
Conferenza Partito radicale
Cicciomessere Roberto - 18 giugno 1990
To want to have one's cake and to eat it too
The democratic electoral systems can privilege two interests which are in a certain sense opposed: the representativeness or the stability of the government. It is not possible to ensure both at the same time.

The Anglo-Saxon majority system especially privileges stability to the detriment of representativeness, and requires a bipartisan political system (in theory, but only in theory, it is possible to obtain no seats at all with 49% of votes, whereas in practice this has never occurred. The possible third component, on the other hand, is heavily penalized, which, as in the case of the Liberals in England, with 25% of votes can obtain only 1% of all seats). The French system (two turns) was conceived to privilege stability, but starting from the confrontation between 4 large political forces which in the end must agree on two fronts. The German system (two votes, one with the majority system and the other with the proportional system, corrected with the 5% barrier) represents a compromise between the two interests, but cannot ensure the party that "wins" the elections the certainty of governing on its own. The Italian system instead privileges representativeness rather than governability.

By governability we mean the possibility for the party that detains the relative majority to be fully responsible for the governmental choices it makes in the course of the legislature. The direct consequence of governability is alternation, because the electoral body can clearly judge the actions of a party and therefore choose to confirm its trust to the party or not. In other words, the people can truly be the judge and the sovereign as regards the choices of the government (it "can" because the other element that ensures this right is honesty of information).

The proportional system, which necessarily leads to governmental coalitions between the parties, contains in itself all the defects of the different political systems: the responsibility of the choices of the government is diluted between many parties; the alternation is almost impossible; the citizen cannot decide by whom he wishes to be ruled. We therefore witness conflicts between the ministers of the different components, who try to lay the blame of unpopular measures on one another, and the need for such unstable alliances to seek agreements with the oppositions in the management and in the division of the power. The fragmentation of the interests of the majority in fact cannot ensure a true parliamentary majority, that is, the real possibility of having one's provisions passed. This situation in Italy has given rise to the so-called historical compromise, which, in spite of the formal disavowal, is still operating at all the levels of the central and peripheral representative institutions.

It is not by chance that our political system has been called an "imperfect monopartisan system".

If it is true that in the traditional majority system a party with 25% of votes can, in theory, not obtain any parliamentary seats, in the proportional system an even more serious thing occurs: with 25% of votes, a party which is essential for the constitution of a governmental majority can become the real moderator of political activity, without assuming all the responsibilities.

The question therefore is to choose: either the Italian partitocratic disaster, which for over 40 years has been preventing an alternation, or the harsh but clear-cut law of the majority system.

Personally I choose the second, even knowing that most probably some social components of the country would not be able to sit in Parliament. But is sitting in complete minority in Parliaments which the regulations have deprived of any whatsoever capacity to represent, that is, to make different opinions known, still worth something?

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