IPU Logo    INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION
>>> VERSION FRANÇAISE  
   HOME -> PARLINE -> ITALY (Senato della Repubblica)
Print this pagePrint this page
PARLINE database new searchNew search
ITALY
Senato della Repubblica (Senate)

Modules:
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name (generic / translated) Il Parlamento / Parliament
More photos  >>>
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Senato della Repubblica / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Camera dei Deputati / Chamber of Deputies
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 1889 -
LEADERSHIP
President Pietro Grasso (M) 
Notes Elected on 16 March 2013.
Secretary General Elisabetta Serafin (F) 
Notes Appointed on 9 Feb. 2011.
COMPOSITION
Members (statutory / current number) 322 / 321
PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN


More statistics  >>>
Women (current number) 91 (28.35%)
Mode of designation directly elected 315
appointed 5
other 2
Notes Appointed members: The President of the Republic may appoint five citizens.
Other: ex-officio member (former Presidents of the Republic are ex officio Senators and for life unless they renounce the office).
Term 5 years
Last renewal dates 24 February 2013
25 February 2013 (View details)
CONTACT INFORMATION
Address Senato della Repubblica
Palazzo Madama - 00186 ROMA
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (3906) 67 061
Fax (3906) 67 604 428
E-mail infopoint@senato.it
Website
http://www.parlamento.it
http://www.senato.it

ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Parliament name (generic / translated) Il Parlamento / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Senato della Repubblica / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Camera dei Deputati / Chamber of Deputies
LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Electoral law 6 February 1948
Last amendment: 21.12.2005
Mode of designation directly elected 315
appointed 5
other 2
Constituencies - 20 multi-member constituencies (302 seats)
- 1 single-member constituency in Valle d'Aosta (1 seat)
- 6 single-member constituencies in Trentino-Alto Adige (6 seats) equally distributed between Italian-speaking Trento (Trent) province and German-speaking Bolzano (Südtirol) province
- 1 constituency for Italians abroad representing 4 geographical groups (6 seats): a) Europe (including the entire Russian Federation and Turkey); b) South America; c) North and Central America; and d) Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica
Voting system Proportional: - proportional representation system applying the d'Hondt method to regional voting results for 302 seats
- proportional representation system for the constituency for Italians abroad representing 4 geographical groups (6 seats)
*First-past-the-post system for single-seat-constituencies in Valle d'Aosta and Trentino-Alto Adige (12 seats).

The minimum thresholds for a seat in the Senate are based on regional voting results:
- for a political coalition: 20 per cent of the total number of valid votes in every region/constituency;
- for a political list within a coalition: 3 per cent of the total number of valid votes in every region/constituency;
- for a political party (list) not affiliated with any political coalition: 8 per cent of the total number of valid votes in every region/constituency.

If the political coalition or political party with the highest number of votes fails to win 55 per cent of the seats to be filled in the region, it is given "bonus" seats to obtain the minimum of 55 per cent of seats required in the region. The remaining seats are distributed among the other qualifying coalitions and individual parties. However, no regional majority bonus seats are awarded in Molise, which elects only two senators.

Seats which become vacant between general elections are filled by the "next-in-line" candidate of the same party list. By-elections are held in the case of majority seats.

Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: minimum 25 years old
- Italian citizenship
- disqualifications: criminal conviction, immoral conduct as defined by the law

Pursuant to Law No. 459/2001 and its implementing regulations (Presidential Decree No. 104 of 2003), Italians abroad meeting the above-mentioned requirements are entitled to elect 6 members representing the Constituency for Italians Abroad (Circonscrizione Estero). They can vote by post or in the constituency in Italy in which they are registered. Electors residing overseas and wishing to return to Italy to cast their vote must notify the relevant Consular Office in writing by 31 December the year before the normal expiry of the legislature or, if Parliament is dissolved early, within 10 days of the calling of the election.
CANDIDATES
Eligibility - qualified electors
- age: minimum 40 years old
- Italian citizenship

Candidates running in the Constituency for Italians Abroad must be both resident and qualified electors of that geographical group.
Incompatibilities - public posts (including the Constitutional Court judges and members of the National Council for Economic Affairs and Labour)
- executive of a State enterprise or State-assisted company
Candidacy requirements - signatures of between 1,000 and 1,500 electors (for independent candidates)
- signatures of between 1,000 and 3,500 electors (for candidates associated with a group having at least two other candidates in other constituencies of the same region)

LAST ELECTIONS

Parliament name (generic / translated) Il Parlamento / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Senato della Repubblica / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Camera dei Deputati / Chamber of Deputies
BACKGROUND
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) (from/to)24 February 2013
25 February 2013
Timing and scope of renewal The "Italy Common Good" coalition, headed by Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani, won a majority in the Chamber of Deputies but not in the Senate. Lengthy negotiations ensued over the formation of a government.

Mr. Bersani's coalition took 345 of the 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 112 of the 315 directly elected seats in the Senate. The People's Party for Freedom coalition (PdL)-Northern League (LN), led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, took 125 and 116 seats respectively. The Five Stars Movement (M5s) - a new party led by Mr. Beppe Grillo - followed with 109 and 54 seats. Mr. Grillo, who himself did not run for a seat in parliament, proposed to slash MPs' salaries and to introduce a minimum income for unemployed Italians. The "With Monti for Italy" coalition led by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti came in the fourth, taking only 47 and 19 seats. He had become Prime Minister in November 2011 amid a financial crisis and implemented austerity plans in an attempt to revive Italy's economy.

On 20 April, a joint parliamentary session re-elected President Giorgio Napolitano after five rounds of inconclusive voting in which other candidates were unable to obtain the requisite majority. On 24 April, he named Mr. Enrico Letta (Democratic Party) as Prime Minister, tasking him with forming a new government.
Date of previous elections: 13 – 14 April 2008

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 22 December 2012

Timing of election: Early elections

Expected date of next elections: February 2018

Number of seats at stake: 315 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: Not available

Percentage of women candidates: Not available

Number of parties contesting the election: 59 (37 parties and 3 coalition comprising 22 parties)

Number of parties winning seats: 8 (including three coalitions)

Alternation of power: Not applicable. The composition of the government had changed before the 2013 elections.

Number of parties in government: 3

Names of parties in government: Democratic Party, People's Party for Freedom, and Civic Choice

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 15 March 2013

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Pietro Grasso (Democratic Party)
STATISTICS
Voter turnout
Round no 1 (from/to)24 February 2013
25 February 2013
Number of registered electors
Voters
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
42'270'824
31'751'350 (75.11%)
1'133'805
30'617'545
Notes
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political group Candidates Votes % of votes
"Italy Common Good" coalition
People's Party for Freedom coalition (PdL)-Northern League (LN)
Five Stars Movement (M5s)
"With Monti for Italy" coalition
For Aosta Valley
Great South
The Megaphone - List of R. Crocetta
Mouvement associatif des Italiens à l'étranger (MAIE)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total of seats
"Italy Common Good" coalition 122
People's Party for Freedom coalition (PdL)-Northern League (LN) 116
Five Stars Movement (M5s) 54
"With Monti for Italy" coalition 17
For Aosta Valley 1
Great South 1
The Megaphone - List of R. Crocetta 1
Mouvement associatif des Italiens à l'étranger (MAIE) 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Men

Women

Percent of women
233

86

26.96%
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Comments
Sources:
IPU Group (07.03.2013, 30.04.2013)
http://www.senato.it/1064
http://www.senato.it/leg/17/BGT/Schede_v3/Statistiche/Composizione/SenatoriPerEta.html
http://elezioni.interno.it

Note:
- The "Italy Common Good" coalition comprised the Democratic Party, the Left Ecology Freedom, the Democratic Centre and the South Tyrolean People’s Party.
- The People's Party for Freedom coalition (PdL)-Northern League (LN) comprised the People's Party for Freedom, the Northern League, the Brothers of Italy, the Right, Great South- Movement for Autonomies, the Italian Moderates in Revolution, the Pensioners' Party, the Popular Agreement and the Independents for a Fair Italy.
- The "With Monti for Italy" coalition comprised the Civic Choice, the Union of the Centre and the Future and Freedom.

Note on the distribution of seats according to sex:
- The figures above refer to the composition of the Senate at the first session in February 2013. It comprised 315 directly-elected members (of whom 86 were women) and four male life senators: three appointed by the President of the Republic and one former President (ex-officio).
- The number of women increased to 92 after a formation of government in April.
- Two of the life senators, both appointed by the President, passed away in May and June 2013 respectively. As at 26 June 2013, there were 92 women out of a total of 317 members.
- On 14 January 2015, former President Giorgio Napolitano was sworn in as a senator for life.
- As at 9 February 2015, there was a total of 321 senators –315 directly elected senators, two ex-officio senators (former Presidents) and four senators appointed by the President – of whom 91 were women.

PRESIDENCY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name (generic / translated) Il Parlamento / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Senato della Repubblica / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Camera dei Deputati / Chamber of Deputies
APPOINTMENT AND TERM OF OFFICE
Title President of the Senate
Term - duration: 5 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, cessation of mandate, temporary functional incapacity if he/she must serve as Acting Head of State, death, dissolution of the Senate
Appointment - elected by all Senators
- the election is held at the start of the new legislature
- before the members' mandates have been validated
Eligibility - any Senator may be a candidate
Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot
- an absolute majority of votes is required for the first and second rounds; an absolute majority of the votes cast by those present for the third round. If no one obtains the required majority in the third round, a run-off is held between the two candidates who obtained the most votes. In case of a tie, the eldest candidate is declared elected
Procedures / results - the eldest Senator presides over the Senate during the voting
- the Board supervises the voting
- the eldest Senator announces the results without delay
- the results cannot be challenged
STATUS
Status - ranks second in the hierarchy of the State, and is first in line to serve as Acting Head of State
- in the order of precedence, the eldest President of the two Houses comes first
- the President of the Chamber of Deputies presides over joint sittings of both Houses
- in the absence of the President, one of the four Vice-Presidents designated by the President of the Senate can assume his/her role and functions
Board - the Board of the Presidency is regulated by the Standing Orders of the Senate
- consists of the President, four Vice-Presidents, 3 Questors and 8 secretaries
- meets at the initiative of the President
Material facilities - no reply given
FUNCTIONS
Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions
- establishes and modifies the agenda
- organizes the debates and may increase allotted speaking time, in consultation with the President of the Chamber of Deputies, the Committee Chairmen and the Government
- examines the admissibility of bills and amendments
- refers texts to a committee for study
- appoints the Chairmen of certain special committees
Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and lift sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Senate
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- establishes the list of speakers, gives and withdraws permission to speak
- decides which amendments are inadmissible
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- checks the quorum
- authenticates the texts adopted and the records of debates
- interprets the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Senate, basing itself on precedents
Special powers The Board of the Presidency:
- approves the Senate's budget
- appoints the Secretary General on a proposal by the President of the Senate
- is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Chamber
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - may take the floor in legislative debates on procedural issues only
- intervenes in the parliamentary oversight procedure
- proposes the appointment of holders of office characterized by their autonomy and independence, in agreement with the President of the Chamber of Deputies
- must be consulted in certain circumstances (dissolution, appointment of the Head of Government)

PARLIAMENTARY MANDATE

Parliament name (generic / translated) Il Parlamento / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Senato della Repubblica / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Camera dei Deputati / Chamber of Deputies
NATURE
Nature of the mandate · Free representation (Art. 67 of the Constitution of 01.01.1948, with amendments up to 30.10.1993)
Start of the mandate · When the results are declared or, for appointed MPs, when their appointment is announced (Art. 1(1) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
Validation of mandates · Validation by the Senate (Art. 66 of the Constitution in conjunction with Art. 51, 58(2) and 65 of the Constitution, Art. 87(1) of Presidential Decree N° 361 of 30 March 1957)
· Procedure (Art. 72 (last paragraph) and Art. 87(1) of Presidential Decree N° 361 of 30 March 1957, Rules 2 and 14 to 17 of the Rules governing the Examination of Credentials, Art. 19 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
End of the mandate · On the day when the newly elected Parliament meets (Art. 61(2) of the Constitution). For early dissolution, see Art. 88 of the Constitution. With regard to Senators for life, see Art. 59 of the Constitution.
Can MPs resign? Yes · Of their own free will
· Procedure (Art. 89 of Presidential Decree N° 361 of 30 March 1957)
· Authority competent to accept the resignation: the Senate (save in the event of incompatibility)
Can MPs lose their mandate ? Yes (a) Definitive exclusion from Parliament by the latter:
- Forfeiture of mandate on grounds of incompatibility or loss of eligibility (Art. 66 of the Constitution in conjunction with Art. 51, 56(2), 58(2) and 65 of the Constitution, Rule 18 of the Rules governing the Examination of Credentials, Art. 19 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Forfeiture of mandate for breaching the rules governing electoral campaigns (Art. 15(7) of Act N° 515 regulating electoral campaigns for political elections)
- Loss of mandate pursuant to a judicial decision: criminal conviction entailing the ancillary penalty of exclusion from public office
STATUS OF MEMBERS
Rank in hierarchy · Within Parliament:
1. The President
2. The Vice-President
3. Life senators, according to seniority and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
4. Quaestors, according to seniority in the office of Senior Quaestor and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
5. Secretaries, according to seniority and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
6. Chairpersons of joint equi-representational commissions, committees and delegations, according to seniority and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
7. Presidents of parliamentary commissions and committees, according to seniority and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
8. Parliamentary secretaries of political parties represented in Parliament, by alphabetical order
9. Leaders of parliamentary groups, according to the numerical strength of the group 10. Vice-Presidents of joint equi-representational commissions, committees and delegations, according to seniority and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
11. Vice-Chairpersons of parliamentary commissions and committees, according to seniority and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
12. Secretaries of parliamentary commissions, committees and delegations, according to seniority and, in case of equal seniority, according to age
13. Presidents of advisory sub-committees, according to seniority and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
14. Other senators, according to seniority in Parliament and, in cases of equal eligibility, according to age
Indemnities, facilities and services · A diplomatic passport for the President, the Vice-President and the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee. An official passport for other senators (Art. 6(d) of the Ministerial Decision of 30.12.1978).
· Basic salary (Art. 69 of the Constitution): Lit. 18,560,281 (gross) per month· + Monthly subsistence allowance
· No tax exemption
· Pension scheme
· Other facilities:
(a) Secretariat
(b) Assistants
(c) Postal and telephone services
(d) Travel and transport
Obligation to declare personal assets Yes
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability · The concept exists (Art. 68(1) of the Constitution).
· Parliamentary non-accountability is applicable to words spoken and written by MPs both within and outside Parliament, provided that they bear a functional relationship to the exercise of the mandate.
· Derogations: insults and contempt (Art. 66 and 67 of the Standing Orders of the Senate; see Discipline)
· Non-accountability takes effect on the day when the mandate begins and, on expiry of the mandate, affords protection against prosecution for opinions expressed during the exercise of the mandate.
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability · The concept exists (Art. 68(2 and 3) of the Constitution).
· It is applicable to criminal and civil proceedings, covers all offences and protects MPs from arrest and detention on remand, house or body searches, interception of their conversations or communications and seizure of their mail.
· Derogations:
- Senators may be arrested, without prior authorisation by the Senate, in execution of a conviction that is not subject to appeal.
- Senators may be arrested without prior authorisation by the Senate if they are caught committing an offence for which an arrest warrant is compulsory.
· Parliamentary inviolability does not prevent MPs from being called as witnesses before a judge or court.
· Protection is provided throughout the mandate and also covers judicial proceedings instituted against MPs before their election.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted (Art. 68, paras. 2 and 3, of the Constitution):
- Competent authority: the Senate
- Procedure (Art. 19(5) and Art. 135 of the Standing Orders of the Senate). In this case, MPs can be given a hearing. There is no possibility of appeal.
· Parliament cannot impose conditions on the prosecution and/or detention.
· Parliament cannot suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members.
· In the event of pre-trial custody or imprisonment, the MPs concerned cannot be authorised to attend sittings of Parliament.
EXERCISE OF THE MANDATE
Training · There is a training/induction course on parliamentary practices and procedures for MPs.
· It is provided by the parliamentary groups or the Bureau of the Senate.
· Handbook of parliamentary procedure:
- Vade mecum for Senators
Participation in the work of the Parliament · It is compulsory for MPs to attend plenary sittings and committee meetings (Art. 1(2) of the Standing Orders of the Senate).
· Penalty for failure to fulfil this obligation: reduction in the variable proportion of the monthly subsistence allowance
Discipline · The rules governing discipline within Parliament are contained in Art. 8 and Chapter IX of the Standing Orders of the Senate.
· Disciplinary measures foreseen:
- Call to order, possibly with an entry in the record (Art. 66 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Censure (Art. 67 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Exclusion from the Senate Hall for the remainder of the sitting (Art. 67 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Suspension of the sitting (Art. 67 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Suspension from Parliament (Art. 67 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
· Specific cases:
- Insults or contempt (Art. 66 and 67 of the Standing Orders of the Senate): call to order, possibly with an entry in the record, censure, exclusion from the Senate Hall for the remainder of the sitting, suspension of the sitting, suspension from Parliament
- Serious disturbances (Art. 68 of the Standing Orders of the Senate): call to order, suspension or adjournment of the sitting· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties (Art. 8 of the Standing Orders of the Senate):
- Call to order, possibly with an entry in the record, censure, exclusion from the Senate Hall for the remainder of the sitting, suspension of the sitting, serious disturbances: the President
- Suspension from Parliament: the Bureau of the Senate
· Procedure:
- Call to order, possibly with an entry in the record, insults and contempt (Art. 66 of the Standing Orders of the Senate) Censure, exclusion from the Senate Hall for the remainder of the sitting, suspension of the sitting, suspension from Parliament, insults and contempt (Art. 67 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Serious disturbances (Art. 68 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
Code (rules) of conduct · This notion does not exist in the country's judicial system, but there are some relevant provisions (Art. 54, 65 and 66 of the Constitution, Rule 18 of the Rules governing the Examination of Credentials, Art. 135(6) of the Standing Orders of the Senate, Art. 290 and 313 of the Penal Code). For the declaration of personal assets, see Obligation to declare personal assets.
· Penalties for violation of the code of conduct:
- Forfeiture of mandate (Art. 66 of the Constitution in conjunction with Art. 58(2) and 65 of the Constitution; incompatibility)
- Penal sanctions (Art. 290 and 313 of the Penal Code, Art. 135(6) of the Standing Orders of the Senate; insulting the Republic, the institutions and the armed forces)
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties:
- Forfeiture of mandate: the Senate
- Penal sanctions: the ordinary judicial authorities
· Procedure:
- Forfeiture of mandate (Art. 66 of the Constitution in conjunction with Art. 65 of the Constitution, Rule 18 of the Rules governing the Examination of Credentials; incompatibility). In this case, MPs have no possibility of appeal.
- Penal sanctions (Art. 290 and 313 of the Penal Code, Art. 135(6) of the Standing Orders of the Senate; insulting the Republic, the institutions and the armed forces). In this case, MPs have no possibility of appeal.
Relations between MPs and pressure group · There are no legal provisions in this area.

This page was last updated on 19 February 2015
Copyright 1996-2013 Inter-Parliamentary Union