Editor's Note

The old translation of the ICL edition and the following background information and historical data has been provided by Carlo Fusaro and Adina Keller.

Constitutional Background

Three Parliamentary Commissions have been convened in 1983-1985, 1992-1994 and 1997-1998 with the task of preparing comprehensive revisions of the 1948 text.

Four amendments have been passed during the Thirteenth Legislature (1996-2001): they concerned the parliamentary representation of Italians living abroad, the devolution of powers to the Regions, the direct election of the Regions' Presidents and the guarantees of fair trial in courts.

A constitutional law and one amendment have been passed in the first part of the Fourteenth Legislature (2001-2006): the repealing of transitory provision XIII insofar as it limited the civil rights of the male members and descendants of the House of Savoy (Italy's royal family until 1946) and a new provision meant to foster women participation in politics. On 25-26 June 2006 a national referendum rejected a major Reform Bill which had been approved by the two Chambers in November 2005 (see below). The attempt to revise part II of the Constitution seemed bound to be abandoned or at least postponed indefinitely.

In 2012 in order to implement the European Union fiscal compact articles 81, 97, 117, 119 were amended to ensure sound public financial policies.

Once again during the present XVII legislature (2013-2018) efforts are being made to change part II of the Constitution in relation to the role of government in Parliament and the undifferentiated powers and composition of the two Chambers.

History and News

  • 8 Feb 2022: Constitutional Amendments (Art. 9, 41 [introducing legal frameworks for the protection of the environment, the biodiversity, and the ecosystems]).
  • 18 Oct 2021: Constitutional Amendment (Art. 58 [lowering the voting age for the Senate from 25 to 18 years old]).
  • 19 Oct 2020: Constitutional Amendments (Art. 56, 57, 59 [reducing the total number of parliamentarians by about one third, and capping the total number of senators for life appointed by the President at five in all cases]).
  • 10 October 2007: Art. 27 of the Constitution is amended by Const. Law 2 October 2007, n. 1 which rules out the death penalty even in case of war.
  • 26 June 2006: with 61.3% nays and 38.7 yes a referendum rejects the constitutional law passed by Parliament in November 2005; 53% of the electors take part. However two of the most advanced Regions have voted in favour (Lombardia, Veneto).
  • 21 December 2005: Parliament passes a new electoral law featuring proportional representation based upon closed lists combined with a bonus in terms of seats granted to the winning coalition of lists.
  • 16 November 2005: Parliament passes a major reform of part II of the Constitution.
  • 20 February 2003: Article 51 of the Constitution has been amended in order to promote women participation in politics (only 9.2% of the total parliamentary membership were women at that time).
  • 23 October 2002: a constitutional law repealing transitory provision XIII concerning the limitation of the civil rights of the male members of the House of Savoy is published.
  • 7 October 2001: for the first time an extensive constitutional amendment concerning the entire Part V of the Constitution (Regions, Provinces and Municipalities) is approved through popular referendum. 64.2% vote in favour but only 34% of those entitled to, do vote.
  • 18 April 1993: Referendum followed by majoritarian reform of Italian electoral laws.
  • 9 June 1991: A massive "yes" changes the electoral law for the Chamber of deputies.
  • 2 May 1974: The first referendum in Italian constitutional history is held (the law which allows divorce is confirmed by a majority of 59.3%).
  • 7 June 1970: Regional decentralization becomes effective with the first regional elections.
  • 14 June 1956: First decision by the newly summoned Constitutional Court.
  • 1 January 1948: The new Constitution enters into force.
  • 11 December 1947: With 453 votes in favour and 62 against, the new Constitution is passed.
  • 2 June 1946: Victory of the republican option in the referendum on the form of State (12.717.923 votes for the Republic; 10.719.284 for the Monarchy); women vote for the first time; the same day the Constituent Assembly is elected.
  • 17 march 1861: proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 1.4.2022 / Thanks to Adina Keller.
For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.