Chamber of Deputies
Camera dei Deputati
|4 March 2018|
|No later than 2023|
|Palazzo Montecitorio, Rome|
The Chamber of Deputies (Italian: Camera dei deputati) is a house of the bicameral Parliament of Italy (the other being the Senate of the Republic). The two houses together form a perfect bicameral system, meaning they perform identical functions, but do so separately. Pursuant to article 56 of the Italian Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies has 630 seats, of which 618 are elected from Italian constituencies, and 12 from Italian citizens living abroad. Deputies are styled The Honourable (Italian: Onorevole) and meet at Palazzo Montecitorio. The Chamber and the parliamentary system of the Italian Republic and under the previous Kingdom of Italy is a continuation of the traditions and procedures of the Parliament and Chamber of Deputies as established under King Charles Albert (1798–1849), during the Revolutions of 1848, and his son Victor Emmanuel II (1820–1878) of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont which led in the "Italian unification Risorgimento movement" of the 1850s and 1860s, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Count Camillo Benso of Cavour ("Count Cavour").[clarification needed]
The seat of the Chamber of Deputies is the Palazzo Montecitorio, where it has met since 1871, shortly after the capital of the Kingdom of Italy was moved to Rome at the successful conclusion of the Italian unification Risorgimento movement.
Previously, the seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy had been briefly at the Palazzo Carignano in Turin (1861–1865) and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (1865–1871). Under the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, the Chamber of Deputies was abolished and replaced by the figurehead Chamber of Fasci and Corporations from 1939 to 1943 (during World War II).
The Chamber is composed of all members meeting in session at the Montecitorio. The assembly also has the right to attend meetings of the Government and its ministers. If required, the Government is obligated to attend the session. Conversely, the Government has the right to be heard every time it requires.
The term of office of the House (as well as the Senate) is five years, but can be extended in two cases:
- The "prorogatio", as provided by art. 61.2 of the Constitution, states that representatives whose term has expired shall continue to exercise their functions until the first meeting of the new Chamber.
- An extension of the term, provided for by art. 60.2, can be enacted only in case of war.
The electoral system is a parallel voting system, with 37% of seats allocated using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) and 63% using proportional representation, allocated with the largest remainder method, with one round of voting.
The 630 deputies are elected in:
- 232 in single-member constituencies, by plurality;
- 386 in multi-member constituencies, by national proportional representation;
- 12 in multi-member abroad constituencies, by constituency proportional representation.
For Italian residents, each house members are elected by single ballots, including the constituency candidate and his/her supporting party lists. In each single-member constituency the deputy/senator is elected on a plurality basis, while the seats in multi-member constituencies will be allocated nationally. In order to be calculated in single-member constituency results, parties need to obtain at least 1% of the national vote. In order to receive seats in multi-member constituencies, parties need to obtain at least 3% of the national vote. Elects from multi-member constituencies will come from closed lists.
The single voting paper, containing both first-past-the-post candidates and the party lists, shows the names of the candidates to single-member constituencies and, in close conjunction with them, the symbols of the linked lists for the proportional part, each one with a list of the relative candidates.
The voter can cast their vote in three different ways:
- Drawing a sign on the symbol of a list: in this case the vote extends to the candidate in the single-member constituency which is supported by that list.
- Drawing a sign on the name of the candidate of the single-member constituency and another one on the symbol of one list that supports them: the result is the same as that described above; it is not allowed, under penalty of annulment, the panachage, so the voter can not vote simultaneously for a candidate in the FPTP constituency and for a list which is not linked to them.
- Drawing a sign only on the name of the candidate for the FPTP constituency, without indicating any list: in this case, the vote is valid for the candidate in the single-member constituency and also automatically extended to the list that supports them; if that candidate is however connected to several lists, the vote is divided proportionally between them, based on the votes that each one has obtained in that constituency.
Article 61 of the Italian Constitution maintains that elections for the Chamber of Deputies must take place within 70 days of the dissolution of the house, and that representatives must convene within 20 days of those elections.
The President of the Chamber of Deputies (Presidente della Camera dei Deputati) performs the role of speaker of the house and is elected during the first session after the election. During this time the prerogatives of speaker are assumed by the vice president of Chamber of Deputies of the previous legislature who was elected first. If two were elected simultaneously, the oldest deputy serves as president of Chamber of Deputies.
The President of Chamber of Deputies has also the role of President during the Parliament joint sessions, when the upper and lower houses have to vote together.
This a list of Presidents of the Italian Chamber of Deputies:
|Giovanni Gronchi (DC)||8 May 1948 – 29 April 1955||I, II|
|Giovanni Leone (DC)||10 May 1955 – 21 June 1963||II, III, IV|
|Brunetto Bucciarelli-Ducci (DC)||26 June 1963 – 4 June 1968||IV|
|Sandro Pertini (PSI)||5 June 1968 – 4 July 1976||V, VI|
|Pietro Ingrao (PCI)||5 July 1976 – 19 June 1979||VII|
|Nilde Iotti (PCI)||20 June 1979 – 22 April 1992||VIII, IX, X|
|Oscar Luigi Scalfaro (DC)||24 April 1992 – 25 May 1992||XI|
|Giorgio Napolitano (PDS)||3 June 1992 – 14 April 1994|
|Irene Pivetti (LN)||16 April 1994 – 8 May 1996||XII|
|Luciano Violante (PDS)||10 May 1996 – 29 May 2001||XIII|
|Pier Ferdinando Casini (CCD)||30 May 2001 – 28 April 2006||XIV|
|Fausto Bertinotti (PRC)||29 April 2006 – 28 April 2008||XV|
|Gianfranco Fini (PdL)||29 April 2008 – 15 March 2013||XVI|
|Laura Boldrini (SEL)||16 March 2013 – 23 March 2018||XVII|
|Roberto Fico (M5S)||since 24 March 2018||XVIII|
- Chamber of Deputies (Kingdom of Sardinia) — 4 March 1848 to 17 March 1861
- Chamber of Deputies (Kingdom of Italy) — 17 March 1861 to 23 March 1939
- Chamber of Fasci and Corporations — 23 March 1939 to 2 August 1943
- Consulta Nazionale — 25 September 1945 to 2 June 1946
- Constituent Assembly of Italy — 2 June 1946 to 31 January 1948
- Governo, il Conte bis incassa la fiducia alla Camera. Il discorso del premier
- "Onorevole: Definizione e significato di onorevole - Dizionario italiano - Corriere.it". dizionari.corriere.it.
- There are four vice presidents who lead the debate when there is not the President of the chamber.
Back side of Palazzo Montecitorio, designed by architect Ernesto Basile