Countries at the Crossroads

Italy

Italy

Countries at the Crossroads 2011

2011 Scores

Accountability and Public Voice
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)

5.91

Civil Liberties
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)

6.00

Rule of Law
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)

5.92

Anti-Corruption and Transparency
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)

5.08
Introduction: 


From the end of the Second World War, which caused the breakdown of Mussolini’s twenty-year fascist regime, until the early 1990s, the Italian Republic was characterised by the stability of its party system. Even if governments often changed, the Christian Democracy (Dc) remained stable in power . Within the institutional framework of a parliamentary democracy, in fact, a permanent pivotal role in national governments was played by the centrist Dc. During the 1960s, along with urbanization and industrialization processes – the so-called “economic miracle” – the perimeter of executive coalitions was extended to the center-left, including the Socialist Party. The left-wing opposition was led by the Italian Communist Party (Pci), deeply rooted within the society and in local administrations, especially in the centre regions of Italy. In spite of its official “anti-system” ideological stance, especially since 1960s Pci pragmatically entered into informal negotiations with the ruling majority and in several occasions influenced policy-making towards a progressive extension of social rights and the improvement of workers’ conditions.

The expansion of the  control of political parties over the public sector and the economic system gradually degenerated into “partitocracy,” a dominance of party leadership over national executives (whose duration in charge in 1948-1994 was less than one year on average), public policies, bureaucratic patronage, and public entrepreneurship. Moreover, the long-standing absence of any effective alternation in government undermined the opportunity of reciprocal control among political actors, encouraging unofficial collusive attitudes and clientelistic practices. The less the political parties were able to obtain ideological support from a stable base, the more they had to rely on clientelistic incentives. This pushed them to increase more and more public expenditures, while at the same time reducing their capacity in fostering long-term planning and producing effective policy-making.[1] As one of the consequences, besides the inefficiency of the administrative structure, Italy experienced an explosion of its public debt, which during the 1980s almost doubled from 56.9 to 94.6 percent of the GNP, and in 2010 is estimated to reach 118 percent of GNP, the eighth highest in the world.[2] Italian democratic institutions faced three main challenges: two coup attempts (in 1964 and 1970), which were ineffectively managed – and quickly aborted – by right-wing extremists with the collusion of fragments of military forces and intelligence; a long season of terrorism;[3] and the Mafia offensive against state institutions, which brought about the assassination of judges and politicians, reaching its heights in 1992 and 1993 with the assassination of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino and a terrorist bomb campaign against national monumentsIn order to manage the terrorist and criminal attacks, special “emergency” laws were adopted, which limited the rights of defendants, increased penalties, and made prison conditions more rigorous. A wider project to undermine democratic decision-making was discovered in 1981, when a list of 962 affiliates to the secret Masonic Lodge Propaganda 2 (P2) was confiscated by judges to the its grand master Licio Gelli.[4]

In February 1992, the mani pulite (“clean hands”) judicial inquiry started in Milan with the arrest of the socialist manager of a public hospice. The subsequent investigations revealed pervasive corruption across the whole country, determining a huge increase in the number of politicians  – also at highest level, as in the case of six former prime ministers – bureaucrats and entrepreneurs accused of participation in corrupt exchanges. The corruption scandal – which was accompanied in autumn 1992 by a dramatic financial crisis – led in a few months to the disappearances of most political parties (among them the Dc and the Socialist party), due to their electoral defeats. Moreover, in 1993-4 and 1995-6 two “technical” governments – led by Carlo Azelio Ciampi and Lamberto Dini – were testimonies of the failure of the party system to produce stable political majorities. Many leading political figures were put under inquiry, condemned, forced to resign or even go into exile, as was the case with Socialist former Prime Minister Bettino Craxi. In the meantime, other parties underwent radical transformation (as in the case of the post-fascist Social Movement/National Alliance), while new political actors emerged on the scene, to fill the political vacuum which was left by the disintegration of the old.

The corruption scandals provoked a drastic transformation of the party systems, even in absence of any significant constitutional change. New leading political actors appeared, such as the media tycoon – and richest man in the country – Silvio Berlusconi. A new electoral system with a strong majoritarian effect favoured an effective alternation in government of competing coalitions: the center-right won in 1994, 2001, 2008 (Berlusconi governed in all these periods), and the center-left in 1996 and 2006, led by Romano Prodi. Moreover, since 1994, former marginalised political parties like the National Alliance, the Northern League, and the post-communist parties have been regularly included within alternating ruling coalitions. The coalitions remained, however, unstable: many new parties emerged in and disappeared from the political arena, competing within those coalitions, or creating new poles.

Accountability and Public Voice: 


In Italy, general elections are held regularly and within a legal framework that guarantees universal participation, freedom of choice, and equal opportunity to compete in the political arena. Voters elect their representatives in the two chambers of the National Parliament, in regional, provincial, and municipal assemblies, and in the European Parliament, each with a different electoral system. Italy has a parliamentary system, and the national government needs the vote of confidence of the two chambers. The president, who has mainly a symbolic, ceremonial, and guarantor role, is elected for seven years terms by the parliament, which includes representatives of each region. The parliament is bicameral and consists of the Chamber of Deputies, with 630 members, and the Senate, with 315 members, plus former presidents and five presidential nominees. The two chambers have the same competences and authority, and are renewed in elections every five years. The regularity of the electoral process is controlled by electoral offices instituted within the Supreme Court and the Appeal Courts and composed by judgeschosen by lot. Each Chamber verify autonomously with an internal commission (Giunta delle elezioni) – nominated by the President of the respective Assembly, with a composition reflecting the relative size of the various Parliamentary groups – the validity of the election of its members and assesses the presence  of causes of ineligibility or incapability to stand for Parliament.

The electoral law for political elections was changed in 1993 from a proportional to a mixed system, with single member districts for three quarters of seats in parliament. Even if not formally provided for by the constitution, the prime minister has since then received an almost direct electoral investiture, strengthening its role within the executive and in its relationships with legislative power. The electoral system was reformed again in December 2005 by the center-right majority, following an intervention of the Premier Silvio Berlusconi,[5] with the alleged purpose to hinder or limit the expected success of the opposite center-left coalition led by Romano Prodi in the election to be held on April 2006.[6] A closed-list system of proportional representation was established with a strong premium given to winning coalitions – 54 percent of the seats, whatever the margin of the victory – for the Chamber of Deputies, and a similar premium in each region’s allotments of seat for the Senate. As a consequence, the selection of parliamentarians has been placed to a large extent in the hands of party leaders. The center-left coalition, fragmented in a dozen parties, won the 2006 Senate elections by a few seats. The victory was never recognized by Berlusconi, who denounced the results as “electoral fraud” and asked for a recount.[7]

The coalition government led by Romano Prodi lost the confidence of the parliament in February 2008, when the small Udeur party, whose leader (and Minister for Justice) Clemente Mastella was under investigation for abuse of office, withdrew its support from the government. The subsequent parliamentary elections, held in April 2008, were won by the center-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, which consisted of the Popolo della Libertà (People of Liberty-Pdl), an aggregation of  Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the post-fascist National Alliance, and the Northern League. The coalition garnered 46.6 percent of votes in the Chamber of Deputies and 47.7 percent in the Senate. Following a steady decline of electoral participation over the last few decades, the 2008 general elections scored the lowest participation in the history of the Republic, with 19.5 per cent of abstention.[8]

In four regions of South Italy (Sicily, Calabria, Campania, and Apulia), an extensive market for votes, controlled and regulated by criminal organizations, has undermined the quality of the political process and the selection of ruling elite. “Blocks” of votes controlled by criminal organizations are used as an exchange resource to obtain judicial protection, contracts, valuable information, and favorable decisions from political actors.[9] Collusion with criminal organizations is not effectively sanctioned at both the electoral and the political levels. Salvatore Cuffaro, for example, was re-elected as President of Sicily in 2006 while he was under trial for alleged collusion with organized crime. Cuffaro was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to seven years, and later jailed in 2011 after the Supreme Court confirmed his sentence. Similarly, the Tribunal of Naples in November 2009 requested permission from the Parliament to arrest Nicola Cosentino, then Vice-Minister of the Economy in the Berlusconi executive and regional coordinator of People of Liberty in Campania, for providing support to the organized crime group Camorra. The request was denied by the Chamber of Deputies but later confirmed in 2010 by the Supreme Court.[10]

Recruitment into the public service, which in 2009 amounted to 3,312,000 public servants, is constitutionally delegated to competitive procedures, “with the exception of cases stated by the law.” Most career advancements are directly tied to the length of service. Exceptions have traditionally been numerous in the Italian bureaucracy, where a significant quota of public officials has been de facto recruited without consultation.[11] Since 1998, senior civil servants have been directly appointed and revoked by the political authorities, a process which usually takes place on the basis of criteria related to personal relationships and partisan alignment rather than individual merit.[12]

Regulation of public financing of political campaigns was introduced in 1974 and has since then been repeatedly modified, a process characterized by a constant rise in the amount of permissible electoral reimbursements, the funnelling of funds to party central offices, a lack of public support, and ineffectiveness of controls on the sources of private financing, as well as on parties and candidate’s electoral expenses. Since 1993 when public financing of political parties was abolished by a popular referendum as part of the political turmoil produced by the corruption scandals, there has been an automatic reimbursement calculated as a fixed quota of each vote obtained in elections. Further regulation in 1999 and 2006 increased the per-vote reimbursement quotas, distributing it over the entire legislature, and regulated the access to the media system and the use of opinion polls in electoral periods. Strict regulation and de-legitimization due to scandals made legal private contributions rare. Formal controls and enforcement of finance regulations are lacking and ineffective, meaning that parties have no incentive to reveal their real revenues and expenditures, which are often irregular or illegal, with a massive under-reporting of private contributions.[13]

In Italy the balance of powers is sanctioned by the constitution and guaranteed by the Constitutional Court, a third of whose 15 members are appointed each by the President, a qualified majority in the Parliament, and the Supreme Judicial Courts.  In spite of this mechanism, which was designed to ensure the impartiality of its judgment and the prestige of its members, disputes between the executive and the judiciary do arise. As a consequence of his repeated involvement in judicial inquiries for corruption and financial crimes Silvio Berlusconi accused the Constitutional Court of being dominated by “left-wing judges” when it partly abrogated laws that might have granted him immunity from trials (among others: laws 140/2003; 46/2005; 124/2008).[14] Similarly, conflicts between executive and judiciary branches of the government have been exacerbated during several phases of the 25 judicial procedures involving Berlusconi, who repeatedly named judges investigating him “subversives,” “members of a criminal association,” “mentally disturbed”, “cancer of our democracy that we have to sever”[15]

The capacity of civic groups and nongovernmental organizations to testify, comment on, and influence pending government policy or legislation is limited at the national level as there are few and occasional channels of access to institutions through consultative committees.  Some more opportunity for such consultations exists at the local level. Civic groups and nongovernmental organizations are free from legal impediments from the state and from onerous requirements for registration. Many of them have, however, lamented limited access to public funds and limited incentives for private funds.[16]

The Italian constitutional and legal frameworks ensure freedom of expression and open access to the media system without censorship. An anomalous condition of the media environment, however, has become evident since 1994 due to the flagrant conflict of interests of Silvio Berlusconi, in his alternating roles of Prime Minister and leader of the opposition, on the one side, and head of an economic empire including insurance, banks, construction, advertising, cinema, football, and a significant quota of news media on the other. Law 112/2004, approved while Berlusconi was Prime Minister, lowered the pre-existing limits to the concentration in media ownership and in the market of advertising revenues. Berlusconi owns Mondadori, one of Italy’s major press and publishing groups, and Mediaset, which controls three commercial national TV channels and radios. Moreover, the three channels of the state-owned broadcaster, Rai, are under the indirect control of the executive, fostering self-censorship and political interference on the editorial lines.[17]   

As Prime Minister, besides the strict control over his privately owned media group, Silvio Berlusconi exercises a significant influence over the public Rai channels, consequently obtaining a disproportionate space in the political news. The communication oversight authority (Agcom) has occasionally sanctioned abuses, but the means for redressing this unbalance are limited, due to its limited autonomy from the political power – members of the Agcom are elected by the two Chambers of the Parliament – and to the limited effectiveness of sanctions it can apply.[18] Since television is the main source of news for 80 percent of the population,[19] the control of media has a noteworthy effect over electoral choices, public debate, and the formation of political agenda. A correlation has been demonstrated between political majorities and emphasis in the news on issues of crime and security, which traditionally are major themes in the center-right political agenda. In 2010 in public coverage of these issues  was more than double that offered in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Germany.[20]

A draft law, published in June 2009, approved by the Senate, and currently under discussion at the Chamber of Deputies, would severely punish with prison sentences (up to three years of imprisonment) and heavy fines journalists and editors that publish news or transcripts from wiretaps on individuals involved in a judicial procedure before the conclusion of its preliminary phase, which generally last years.[21] Alleged motivation of the proposal is the invasion of privacy following the publication of information on preliminary phases of the investigations or the tapping of private conversations. Critics pointed at the potential use of the ; draft law by Silvio Berlusconi and other leading figure of his coalition which are involved in judicial inquiries.

Journalists and media organizations are generally not hampered by the risks of legal harassment, even if the denounce for “defamation” crime and civil lawsuits has been used to discourage investigating journalism.

Several journalists and writers investigating organized crime were subject to intimidation, and ten journalists live under permanent police protection.[22] Among them is Roberto Saviano, author of the best seller Gomorrah, who denounced the rampant dominion of the Casalesi clan over economic and political life in Campania.[23] Prime Minister Berlusconi in November 2009 declared he “would strangle” writers and filmmakers who give a bad image of Italy by focusing on mafia affairs.[24]

Diffusion of ICT in Italy is increasing at a slow pace due to inadequate infrastructure and scarce public investment: in 2010, 59 percent of Italian families had at least one member with access to the internet, which put Italy in the bottom five among 27 European countries in this ranking.[25] Public access to the internet was strictly limited with the alleged aim of fighting terrorism by the Decree 144/2005, which required a license to offer wireless services, official identification of users, and recording and conservation in registers of personal data. As a consequence, in Italy the number of wireless hot spots is 75-80 percent lower than many European countries.[26] In December 2010, a decree cancelled the obligation to identify those with access to public wireless connections, a measure which could both extend the use of internet and protect user’s privacy.

State funding of press, local radio, and other broadcasting, introduced in 1981, was reduced by Decree 112/2008, which limited the access of official party newspaper, cooperatives, and no-profit media to a fixed and decreasing amount of direct subsides, established year-per-year. Since almost two thirds of advertising revenues are collected by television broadcasters and the remaining quota mainly shared by major editorial groups, Rcs and Mondadori (the latter also owned by the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi), many small-scale newspapers and radio are now exposed to the risk to be forced to quit depending on global government’s budget allocation of funds, whose distribution to recipients depends on their circulation, reported costs, advertising revenues.

Civil Liberties: 


Italy scores relatively well in terms of general protection against torture, extrajudicial execution, and other physical violence by officers of the state. There have been though some cases in which some evidence emerged about the use of violence by state officers against citizens who were  under arrest or imprisoned. Despite legal prohibition of torture, there have been judicial investigations and even sentences against police officers for excessive use of force, especially against migrants, young people, and protesters. Most prominent have been the two trials against 75 police officers, including senior officers, accused of maltreatment of protestors in Genoa in 2001, during the demonstrations against the G-8 summit, when law enforcement officers were alleged to have committed numerous human rights violations against Italian citizens and foreign nationals.[27] In March and May 2010, the Court of Appeal of Genoa convicted 69 police officers, among them senior officers who did not prevent or stop violence.

The prosecution of officers of the state for violent crimes has however been limited not only by the presence of an informal code of reciprocal protection between police officers, often lamented by the judiciary when encountering a “wall of silence” during investigations, and also by the lack of rules that would ensure transparency. Long-running trials and the consequent decadence of some charges have thwarted effective punishment when evidences of abuses had emerged. In other cases, on the contrary, situations of arbitrary detention may result “from the unreasonable length of criminal proceedings and from excessive recourse to remand detention.”[28]

Prison conditions are not very respectful of the human dignity of inmates. This is not due to prison regulations, which to the contrary are respectful of the re-educative function of detention, but rather to the overcrowding of prisons, the rate of which in Italy is one of the highest in Europe.[29] The frequency of suicides among convicts is one of the consequences of unbearable conditions of life and scarcity of assistance.[30] A 2005 Amnesty International report stigmatized the unhygienic conditions in holding cells for undocumented migrants, as well as the denial of basic rights to migrants, in addition to other violations.[31]  In 2009, an immigration law was passed that extends from two to six months the maximum period of detention within the Centres for Identification and Deportation without charge permitted for un-documented migrants. According to a MSF report, in such centers, “malfunctioning continued to occur in numerous forms and there were episodes of scant respect of fundamental rights […] including lack of contact with the National Health Service, insufficient health, legal, social, and psychological assistance, and numerous signs of malaise among those interned.”[32] As in the case of other national emergencies – organized crime, international terrorism – irregular immigration has been treated as a security emergency, including the use of extraordinary measures that raise significant risk of unreasonably powers in terms of arbitrary detention and other violations.[33]

The state refrains from violent attacks on political opponents, NGO workers, and members of civic groups. Protection against arbitrary arrest of political opponents or other peaceful activists are effective. However, cases of long-term detention without trial are frequent, given the inefficiency of the judiciary system. On February 2011 in Italy 42,1 per cent of inmates – corresponding to almost 28.500 people – were under pre-trial detention, against an average among EU countries of 24 per cent.[34] After the pardon in 2006, no procedural simplification nor de-criminalization measures have been taken by the government to improve the situation. On the contrary, the emphasis of the centre-right coalition on “security issues” has determined the introduction of several contested offences, which worsened the situation in prisons. A major case is the much debated law 94/2009, which allows detaining without trial immigrants that fail to show proof of legal residency. On April 2011 the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled that such law is in contrast with the European directive on repatriation and should not be applied by Italian judges.[35]

The presence of a strong and widespread organized crime has heavily undermined state capacity to protect citizens from abuse by private/non-state actors, especially in regions such as Sicily, Campania, Calabria, and Apulia. The incidence of organized crime in broad areas of the country has detrimental effects on their economic development, as racketeering discourages investment. The presence of organized crime also threatens basic rights of the population that lives in these areas, given the groups’ capacity to control territory.[36] While police action and judicial investigations have been effective at times, the representative associations of the judges and public persecutors have asserted that some new laws have reduced their investigative capacity – as in the case of the law 45/2001, limiting the repentants’ role in inquiries on mafia-like organizations  – or may reduce it –  as in the case of the law proposal introducing restriction in wire-tapping. Moreover, the budget allocation in the last years have determined a decrease of financial and human resources in public order and security policies: a cut of 0,7 per cent from 2010 to 2011 will be followed by further reductions of 0,5 and 0,2 per cent in the next years.[37]

Despite the presence of legal measures to prevent human trafficking, Italy is a transit and destination country for trafficked men, women, and children, specifically for forced prostitution and exploitation of labor force. Major anti-trafficking operations, with hundreds of arrests, were carried out in 2006 and 2007, but “the government failed to proactively identify many potential trafficking victims throughout the year,” which might have resulted in victims’ removal to countries where they faced retribution and hardship.”[38]

As for citizens’ means of petition and redress when their rights are violated by state authorities, although some Italian regions and other local administration have ombudsmen, these institutions are rare and the means with which they are endowed are insufficient to perform their tasks. In 2010, the figure of ombudsman was abolished in municipalities, either for shortage of resources or lack of trust in its effectiveness (which was in fact in part linked to limited resources).

Women’s rights have been late to develop in Italy. Fascist legislations, late to be recalled, made women legally dependent on their fathers and, later, their husbands. Lobbying by the Catholic hierarchy has also opposed women’s rights, especially reproductive rights. Abortion has been legal since 1978, but medical doctors can invoke conscientious objections in order to not perform the procedures. This means that, in some of the Italian regions, the implementation of the right of the women to decide on her reproductive activity is jeopardized in practice. A fertility law of 2004, supported by the Catholic hierarchy, prevents sperm and egg donation, reduces the number of implantations at any given time, and bans the use of unused embryos for curing diseases. Italy has also been very late to approve the abortion pill, which can only be administered in hospitals.

The Italian constitution, and its laws and practices recognize that men and women are entitled to equal enjoyment of all civil and political rights. Moreover, many institutions have groups designated for the promotion of equal opportunity, in charge of protecting women from discriminatory or abusive customs and practices that infringe on their personal autonomy and security. In 2010, Italy scored 74th out of 134 countries in the Global Gender Gap report, losing seven positions since 2008, due to women’s wage inequalities for similar work, the low level of women’s public and private enterprise leadership, and the limited presence of women in ministerial positions and in the legislative bodies, both at national and local level.[39] Labor market reforms put in place in 2003 increased flexibility, but have further penalized working women, that are usually employed in the less protected sectors.

The Italian constitution recognizes equal civil and political rights for all citizens, no matter which ethnic and religious group they belong to. This notwithstanding, in 2009, according to a Eurobarometer survey, 22 per cent of Italians – the highest level in the European Union – have personally felt discriminated on the basis of age, gender, ethnic origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation, while 26 per cent witnessed someone being discriminated or harassed on the basis of such grounds.[40]

On January 2010 in Italy foreigners were 4,2 millions, corresponding to 7 per cent of regular resident population, more than doubled since January 2004 when they were 2 millions (3,4 per cent of population). Larger ethnic groups are from Romania, Albania, Morocco, China, Ukraine, Philippines, Tunisia. Such a rapid increase of immigrants has been accompanied by social tensions and concern.[41] While some territorially-based ethnic minorities (in Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Val d’Aosta) are protected from discrimination by legislation, law enforcement, and education, the actual protection from discrimination of other ethnic groups is still limited. Many members of Roma and Sinti ethnic groups, for example, still live under degrading conditions. Migrant groups have been targeted by racist campaigns, and not effectively defended against discrimination. In 2009, Amnesty International denounced an increasing intolerance, especially against the Romany community.[42] In a comparative research on 8 European countries Italy showed severe signs of mistrust and intolerance: the highest percentage (62,5 per cent) of people agreeing with the statement that “there are too many immigrants in our country”; the highest percentage of anti-Muslims statements that “Muslims are too demanding” (64,7 per cent).[43]  Moreover, 71 per cent of Italians believe that discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin is very or fairly widespread.[44]

According to the European network against racism: “in 2009 there has been a dramatic increase in the vulnerability of migrants to racism and discrimination. Although some categories such as Roma and Sinti or Northern Africans have experienced more incidents of racism, strong anti-immigrant feelings have generally affected all nationalities and groups”. The Berlusconi government has taken an increasingly hard line against irregular migrants and asylum seekers, with restrictive and criminalizjng provisions included in the so called “security package” approved in 2009. Moreover, policies of control and forced evictions for Roma and Sinti have been systematically applied at local level, while “basic human rights of asylum seekers such as non refoulment have been violated by the policy of interception at sea and by special agreements with Lybia”[45] In the first months of 2011 the political crisis of the Libyan and Tunisian regimes increased dramatically the flux of migrants coming by sea from sub-Saharan regions, generating an emergency situation – an “humanitarian crisis” – which exacerbated the problem of the violation of their human rights, which had already been denounced in the previous years.[46]

There is a very limited recognition of civil rights for sexual minorities. While discrimination by sexual preferences is formally prohibited, until now, all attempts to insure legal protection for homosexual couples have failed because of heavy opposition by the Catholic Church and the center-right political spectrum, as well as divisions in the centre-left coalition. For instance, in May 2011 a bill to prevent discrimination and violence against homosexuals, after almost three years of debate and an attempt to find a bipartisan agreement, has been rejected in the Justice commission of the Chamber of Deputies by the centre-right majority, notwithstanding the support of the Ministry for equal opportunities.[47].

Also, while formal equality is recognized in the labor market, this is still very polarized. Especially in sectors such as construction, agriculture, and domestic services, where migrants and/or women are most present, unprotected and often irregular forms of employment dominate.[48]

While formal regulations to help improve the quality of life of disabled people do exist, voluntary associations have often stigmatized their low degree of implementation.

The Italian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, stating (art. 8) that “all religious faiths are equally free under the law.” While there is no official state religion, the Catholic church has been granted several privileges, including the designation to it of 0.7 percent of tax returns, several fiscal exemptions for its commercial and religious activities, and the power to appoint professors teaching religion in public schools. The  state has no power or influence over appointments in the church.  Agreements with other religions also exist (with the remarkable exception of Islam) but a general law of religious freedom is still missing. Several debates developed on the construction of mosques, which has been opposed by center-right local governments on the basis of presumed risks for security and religious purity. In 2007, even the national government promoted the monitoring of mosques, with the declared aim of fighting terrorism.

The Italian constitution recognizes every person’s right to freedom of association and assembly. The state also respects the right to form, join, and participate in free and independent trade unions, as well as the rights of civic associations, business organizations, and political organizations to organize, mobilize, and advocate for peaceful purposes. State material support for voluntary associations has been however declining in recent years, due to the financial crisis. Trade union density in Italy is above the EU average: 35,6 per cent of employees are members of one of the three main trade unions in 2008 (retired employees excluded), with a decrease from  38,1 per cent of 1995.[49] The three major union confederations are the General Confederation of Italian Workers (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, Cgil), with 47,8 per cent of total union membership in 2008; the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions (Confederazione Italiana Sindacato Lavoratori, Cisl), with  36,7 per cent; the Union of Italian Workers (Unione Italiana del Lavoro, Uil), with 15,5 per cent.[50] Even if Cgil has traditionally been linked to leftist parties, Cisl to catholic parties and Uil to the non-communist, reformist left, the three main unions since the 1960s had developed instruments of coordination. This unitary strategy increased their bargaining power and allowed them to influence effectively labour and economic policy. Only occasionally – especially in 1984–1985 and since the early 2000s – divisions among them have emerged. Recently, however, the internal divisions  widened after the refusal of Cgil to sign the reform of the collective bargaining system in January 2009 and to agree with the industrial restructuring plan presented by Fiat in Pomigliano and Turin, submitted to a worker’s referendum in June 2010 and January 2011. In the last years the divisions among the three main trade unions, combined with their declining membership, the fragmentation of workers’ representation in an increasing number of other confederations and independent unions – especially in the transport and public services sector – have weakened their role in industrial relations and policy-making.  

Demonstrations and public protests are allowed, even though there are occasionally public criticisms against the use of excessive force against them. In comparative perspectives, unconventional forms of political participation are particularly widespread in Italy, and this was particularly true in the years 2000s, when protest addressed especially issues of social justice and peace.[51] In a comparative research of 2005 on eight European countries (among them Germany, France, United Kingdom)  Italian young people (15-25 years) turned out to be by far the most inclined to political protest, including also illegal and violent forms of participation: 32 per cent had participated in legal demonstrations in the last 12 months, 34 per cent in strikes, 11 per cent in illegal demonstrations, 5 per cent in violent confrontation with police, 4 per cent had experienced violent confrontation with political opponents, 10 per cent had occupied buildings, 4 per cent had blocked streets or railways.[52]The right to strike is restricted for public employees and for some service workers. Some provisions of the illiberal Unified Text of the Law on Public Security, dating from 1931, have survived the impact of the constitution and the intervention of the Constitutional Court. There are therefore still constraints on protest rights, with considerable discretion in prohibiting public demonstrations or imposing limits on their development.  

Rule of Law: 


Italy has a tradition of civil law, with adversarial procedures. The Italian judicial system enjoys high levels of independence. There is no evidence of partiality and discrimination in the administration of justice, including from undue economic, political, or religious influences, even though there have been several cases of corruption of judges.[53] In 2008, according to official statistics, 86 individuals were denounced for corruption in judicial procedures, more than doubled since 2006, when they were 41.[54] There are noteworthy examples of judges having been corrupted either by political power, entrepreneurs or by criminal associations. For instance, in 2006 and 2007 the judge Vittorio Metta was sentenced for corruption in two major cases, Imi-Sir and Mondadori, the latter concerning a trial in Rome which ended with the adjudication of the Mondadori editorial group to Silvio Berlusconi, whose lawyer and former Ministry for the defence, Cesare Previti, was also found guilty for having paid the bribe. [55] In another case, a judge in Imperia has been arrested in May 2011 for having allegedly mitigated sentences to affiliates of organized crime. The activism of the judges in the investigations against corruption and abuses of office, however, demonstrates the degree of institutional autonomy of the judiciary from political power.  

Italian judges and magistrates are formally protected from interference by the executive and/or legislative branches. Since the constitution obliges the prosecution of all crimes, the doctrine of compulsory prosecution prevents the government from interfering in the administration of justice and is perceived by the judges themselves as an important barrier against political use of the law.[56] Recruitment into the magistracy is based on competitive and unbiased examinations open to all those who have a university degree in law. Career and disciplinary issues are decided by the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura (Magistrates High Council), which is mainly composed of members of the judiciary, elected in the lists of different associations, that are characterized by different “political orientations” and visions of the role of the judiciary.

Several conflicts have developed however between the judiciary, on the one side, and the legislative, executive, and other governmental authorities, on the other, when investigations of political corruption intensified. The parliament has systematically denied judicial requests of investigations or arrest against its members, especially in investigations on political corruption, which have been so authoritatively obstructed or halted. Only after the final judgement of the Supreme court in a case against a member of Parliament the corresponding Chamber cannot block or oppose to the procedure of arrest.

The  appointment, promotion, and dismissal of judges and public prosecutors is the responsibility of the Supreme Council of Magistrates, which is composed in its majority of judges and public persecutors who are elected by their peers, a mechanism which safeguards them from political interference. The center-right executive developed in the last years several law proposals designed to increase the presence in the CSM of politically appointed members, to separate the careers of judges and public prosecutors, to attribute to the Ministry of Justice the definition of “priorities” in crime prosecution. The association of the magistrates (ANM) have strongly resisted these attempts, with frequent moments of high tensions between the Associazione Nazionale Magistrati (National Association of the Magistrates) and the government, that even pushed the President of the Republic to issue public appeals for inter-institutional respect.

 Judicial procedures guarantee a general implementation of the principles of presumption of innocence and due process. A “legitimate suspect” norm, strengthened in 2002, allows defendants to request a transfer of their lawsuit to another tribunal whenever “local conditions,” including the potential prejudice of judges, could influence the impartiality of judgement. It is alleged that this strengthening was an ad personam measure on behalf of the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. The main problem of Italian justice is the length of time required to complete judicial procedures,[57] repeatedly sanctioned by the European court of human rights.[58] A law proposal to limit within fixed time limits the possible duration of civil and penal trials, which would expire when exceeding them, is under discussion at the Chamber of Deputies after its approval on January 2010 in the Senate. According to the National Association of Magistrates, if not accompanied by a reforms capable of notably reducing the length of the procedures – which are not currently under discussion – such a law would cause the termination of about 50 per cent of trials in Rome, Bolognaa, Turin, 20-30 per cent in Florence, Naples, Palermo; the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura (Magistrates High Council) estimated the extinction of a percentage ranging from 10 to 40 per cent of all trials, up to 47 per cent in some areas. The Ministry of Justice limited the estimate to 1 per cent of trials.[59] Such a measure, besides encouraging delaying tactics of defence lawyers, would benefit the Prime Minister Silvio Berluconi in a trial on corruption (the Mills case).

 Italy has a tradition of civilian control over the security forces, which in the past have had limited autonomy from the executive. While the Carabinieri and financial police are part of the army, the Italian police is civil. Nevertheless, it has long been a military body, and policemen had no right to build trade unions. It was only in 1981 that legal reforms recognized the rights of police officers as workers, allowing unionization, even if only in special unions. The abolition of provisions against the recruitment of women in the police forces has been effective in increasing their presence to up to one third of the labor force. Law 78/2000 aggravated the difficulties associated with the presence of a large number of police forces: unclear division of competences; limitations on the civilian public security authorities; and wide margins of autonomy for the Carabinieri and financial police. In the year 2000, the Carabinieri became an autonomous branch of the armed forces. A further difficulty is the limited accountability and low professionalism of the Italian police, also in the sphere of public order. In recent time, the police unions have lamented that cuts in the budget on security issues have further reduced their capacity of intervention. The creation of specialized bodies for intervention in public demonstrations has been ineffective: after the Italian police forces have been accused, and in some cases sentenced, for maltreatments of demonstrators, especially during the protests against the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001, some of these bodies have been abolished.[60]

Corruption within the security forces is considered a relevant problem: according to the 2010 Global corruption barometer, 30,9 per cent of Italian citizens perceive police to be extremely or quite corrupt.[61] Similarly, a 2009 Eurobarometer survey showed that in Italy 32 per cent of people think that the giving and taking of bribes or the abuse of positions of power for personal gain are widespread in the police service – with an increase of 10 per cent since 2007.[62] No reform has been implemented in this area, where the mentioned limitations on independent inquiries together with high “ésprit de corp” increase the potential for corruption]

Police, military, intelligence services, and internal security services refrain from interference and/or involvement in the political process. Abuses of power and corruption within the police and military forces are not uncommon. The police brutality during the protest against the G8 in Genoa in 2001 has brought to the incrimination of several members of various police bodies, including at high hierarchical level. Several of them have been sentenced at the appeal trials on violence during the police raids inside the demonstrators’ dormitory in the Diaz School (13 policemen have been found guilty) as well as in the prison in Bolzaneto (15 found guilty). The judges have lamented interferences (especially from within the police) that risked jeopardizing their investigations.[63 The judges of the trial on violence in Bolzaneto against the demonstrators arrested lamented the lack of a law against torture.[64] Similarly, sporadic episodes of brutality and violation of human rights by the police and military forces, often difficult to prove, due to the absence of independent investigative structures, have nevertheless been put under investigation by the judiciary. For example, in a couple of recent scandals two young people – Federico Aldrovandi and Stefano Cucchi – were allegedly beaten to death by policemen during and after their arrest (in the case of Aldrovandi, the Italian state admitted its responsibility and paid damages to the family). Only a campaign to denounce the facts fostered by their families allowed magistrates to inquiry and prosecute the persons in charge for the two cases, which would otherwise have been covered by a conspiracy of silence [65]

The Italian constitution and laws recognize and guarantee private property rights. Expropriation is strictly limited to cases defined by the law for reasons of general interest, with due compensation. Such robust formal protection of rights is sometimes undermined in practice, however, as the slowness of judicial procedures weakens the effectiveness of enforcement.[66]

Anti-Corruption and Transparency: 


While evidence of extensive corruption acted as catalyst of the political crisis in the 1990s, the issue quickly disappeared from the agenda of Italian politics. Electoral sanctions of the politicians involved in corruption scandals, which in Italy had traditionally been mild, became almost non-existent in the last decade, as epitomized by the electoral victories of Silvio Berlusconi, despite his being under trial or investigation for several corruption and accounting fraud charges. The interest of the public opinion on the issue of corruption has constantly decreased.[67] A protest campaign, Clean Parliament, launched by the satirical actor and blogger Beppe Grillo, denounced the presence in Parliament of 25 members carrying  convictions (in some cases for corruption) in 2006, and 18 members in 2008.[68] In February 2010, the Anti-Mafia Parliamentary Commission approved an “ethical-electoral code” to proscribe inclusion in electoral lists for local elections of candidates implicated in mafia-related crimes. In spite of this constraint, 45 candidates implicated in mafia crimes stood for local election in May 2010, and 11 were victorious.[69]

Pessimistic expectations and beliefs about the diffusion of corruption in the public sector are mirrored by the downward trend of Italy’s ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2010 Italy, with a score of 3.9, obtained the lowest ranking since 1998, falling from the 41st (among 179 countries) in 2007 to the 67th position (among 178 countries) in the rank of non-corruption, putting it in the bottom four of 27 European Union countries. According to the Greco evaluation report on Italy, “corruption is deeply rooted in different areas of public administration, in civil society, as well as in the private sector. The payment of bribes appears to be a common practice to obtain licenses and permits, public contracts, financial deals, to facilitate the passing of university exams, to practice medicine, to conclude agreements in the soccer world, etc. […]. Corruption in Italy is a pervasive and systemic phenomenon which affects society as a whole.”[70] The General Prosecutor of the Court of Accounts in 2009 estimated the monetary cost of corruption in Italy to amount to between €50 and €60 billion per year.[71]

Such a high level of perceived corruption, uncommon for an advanced liberal-democracy, is related, among other variables, to the structural inefficiency of the Italian public administration, fragmented in a wide plurality of offices and bureaucratic levels communicating with each other through formal acts.[72] In decision-making processes, moreover, excessive formal regulation coexists with the frequent attribution of special or emergency powers which are more vulnerable to corruption due to the lack of effective controls. This was demonstrated in February 2010 by a scandal involving a clique of entrepreneurs, top-bureaucrats, and the Vice-Ministry of Civil Defence, who could arbitrarily allocate large public contracts for  very broadly defined emergency situation – besides the reconstruction after natural calamities, Civil Defense managed also the organization of important public events, as in the case the G-8 meeting in La Maddalena in 2010 – and have been suspected of receiving in exchange bribes and a variety of other valuable benefits, including hiring of relatives, rental and renovation of villas and apartments, paid home services.[73]

The over-regulation of economic and social activities, combined with the formalism of administrative procedures and controls, produces uncertainty of rights and increases the arbitrary power of agents who have the authority to apply or interpret norms.[74] As a consequence, in the Italian political-institutional environment confidential information and the capacity to address or accelerate decision-making, especially in sectors where considerable amount of resources are at stake – public contracting procedures, licenses, concessions, etc. – have been often exchanged by public officials for bribes.[75]

Law 215/2004, regulating conflicts of interests, stated the incompatibility between the management of a company – and not ownership as such – and government roles, but did not create any effective monitoring and sanctioning mechanisms.[76] No constraint was introduced by such law on Silvio Berlusconi’s overwhelming influence, as prime minister, over the media and the economic system. Ironically, the only consequences he suffered were his forced resignations from the presidency of the Milan football club in 2004 and 2008. Moreover, the law does not include preventive measures for resolving potential conflicts of interest. Only ex-post government members can be investigated on a case-by-case basis by Anti-Trust and Broadcasting Authorities, in respect of acts or omissions which have “a specific, preferential effect on the assets of the office holders” and “to the detriment of the public interest,” a general formulation which made regulation ineffective. In the last years the spread of public/private partnerships in the management of local public services has multiplied potential conflicts between private interests and public roles of officeholders, but similar situations are not regulated nor enforced. The obligation of disclosure of public officials’ patrimonial assets, introduced for elected politicians in 1982 and extended in 2009 to the salary of senior officials and “public consultancy” fees, is in practice undermined by the ineffectiveness of verification on their truthfulness.

  In spite of the relevance of the issue of corruption, Italy lacks a well-organized and coordinated anticorruption strategy and has no methodology for determining the efficacy of anticorruption measures already in place.[77] Anticorruption action has consequently been restricted to the sphere of investigation and punishment, with the drawbacks in terms of institutional conflicts. As shown by a cross-national research sponsored by the European Commission, based on opinions of high level-bureaucrats and citizens, Italy ranks 24th among the 27 EU countries for the quality and effectiveness of its anticorruption policies.[78]

An outline of the main measures which have shaped the existing Italian anticorruption framework over the recent years shows a contrasting panorama. A pessimistic outlook – 69 per cent of Italian citizens in 2009 believe that Italian governments have proven ineffective in the fight against corruption,  and only 16 percent had a positive opinion[79] – is justified by the quantity and relevance of several potentially corruption-enhancing laws approved in the last decade, including the decriminalization of false accounting (law 61/2002); the guarantee of immunity for holders of the highest offices of state (laws 140/2003 and 124/2008); the requirement of parliamentary authorization for prosecutors’ collection of evidence on members’ crimes and imposition of restrictive measures [law 140/2003]; and the possibility of regularizing financial assets hidden abroad, even if derived from illegal or corrupt activities [law 102//2009]. Several measures have been broadly defined as ad personam, being explicitly aimed at sheltering Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister from his trials. They also have had a more general adverse symbolic effect on the popular beliefs of impunity of rulers from corruption charges. Other measures produced broader adverse consequences, including the reduction of time limits specified by the statute of limitations – law 251/2005, named ex-Cirielli – which discouraged the recourse to abbreviated trial procedures and boosted the adoption of dilatory exception, reducing the efficiency of the whole judiciary system.[80] According to an estimate of the Supreme Court, the implementation of such law could have determined an increase in the expiration of a sample of crimes from 8-9 per cent to between 42 and 49 per cent of pending judicial procedures, among them 88,8 per cent of corruption crimes.[81] In fact, as emphasized by the GRECO report on Italy, an alarming – and increasing – proportion of all prosecutions for corruption fail simply because of such expiration, undermining the credibility of criminal law, and the dissuasive power of sanctions.[82]

 Moreover, the low quality of such laws – which had to be approved quickly in order to serve the prime minister’s judicial interests – and the individual motives driving them induced a high number of adverse judgments of the Constitutional Court, which was asked to evaluate their conformity with the constitution. In particular, complete and partial abrogation by the Constitutional Court, in December 2010, October 2009, and January 2004, have sunk three measures on penal immunity and suspension of participation in trials which were directly designed to provide legal safeguards for Prime Minister Berlusconi against pending judicial inquiries into his affairs. As a result, the tensions between the executive, supported by its parliamentary majority, and the judicial branches of the state escalated, with a further shift of the focus of public debate from the issue of corruption to the allegation that judges are politically biased. Following the Constitutional Court rejection of the law, providing his immunity from prosecution, Silvio Berlusconi evoked the prospect of a ‘civil war’ between ‘subversive’ prosecutors and an executive legitimized by its electoral majority.[83]

Legislative measures under discussion could further undermine judicial efforts to combat corruption. A law proposal sponsored in 2008 by the Minister of Justice Angelino Alfano, approved by the Senate and under discussion in the Chamber of Deputies, would amend the rules concerning special investigative techniques and wire-tapping, restraining for corruption-related investigations the condition to start wire-tapping, the time-limit for which they could be used, and their cost. According to the national association of magistrates, the approval of a similar measure would amount to “an hard blow to judicial inquiries”. Even if investigation on mafia and terrorism crimes would be formally excluded from the limitations introduced by the law-proposal, it is observed that often the existence of  terrorist groups or criminal organizations is revealed by operations started with evidence of other related crimes (extortion, usury, falsification of notes and documents, etc.). Wire-tapping for such crimes should be strictly limited to a duration of two months, to places where crimes occur, and preliminarily justified by ample evidence, preventing from any further development of inquiries.[84]

In spite of the generalized perception of rampant bribery, anticorruption measures have not developed systematically, often being a mere by-product of the signature of international treaties, ratified after delays of years, while other international agreements remained lacked influence. For example, in 1999 Italy signed the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, but has not yet ratified it. An Anti-Corruption High Commissioner first established in 2003 was abolished in 2008, due to its inefficacy. A new body instituted in 2008, the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Service (SAET), was placed in a position of functional dependence on a political institutions – the Minister for the Civil Service – and endowed with inadequate financial and human resources.[85]

Moreover, SAET, as well as its predecessor, has only advisory, research, promotion, co-ordination, and stimulus functions, but its responsibility does not extend to the collection of information about, the investigation into, or the sanctioning of corrupt dealings. Its most notable activity has been the production of a report to the parliament and the signature of two preliminary agreements, in October 2009, with the Authority for Public Contracts and the Association of Italian Municipalities. The aim is to promote the introduction, with the input of Transparency International, of integrity pacts as a model for the adoption and dissemination of best practices in public contracting procedures. Since their acceptance and the eventual sanctioning of their violation would be delegated, on a voluntary basis, to the agreement of private and public parties, there is a risk that the outcome will be a patchwork of anti-corruption initiatives, whose effective implementation will depend on the goodwill of local political and business actors.

In March 2010 the executive approved an anti-corruption law-proposal, arguably intended to reassure public opinion on the government’s ability to face the scandal that in February 2010 had hit several high-level bureaucrats and leading figures of the ruling center-right coalition with charges of bribery in public contracting procedures. It consists of a heterogeneous patchwork of norms, and in February 2011 was still under examination of the parliament.[86]

An estimate of media coverage of corruption allegations shows a constant decline since the mid-1990s: cases of corruption presented by newspapers decreased rapidly in the last decade and in 2009-2010 reached the lowest level since the 1980s. Political pressures and control over media, as well as a sort of habituation to corruption stories within Italian public opinion, which raised the ‘scandalization threshold’ for news of bribery, may explain this trend.[87] Not only Italians seems to become more and more difficult to ‘scandalize’, but the discussion most political corruption allegations tend to be highly partisan, with allegations, especially if  levelled at politicians of the centre-right,  presented as evidence of the political bias of the magistrates.

In Italy there is no regulation of whistleblower protection in corruption cases. In  areas of public activity such as public contracting, city planning or the public health system, where corruption was systemic and internally regulated, reporting experience of corruption has had adverse consequences for whistleblower’s career within the public administration, for their political and entrepreneurial activities, since they were ostracized by accomplishes of corrupt agents as a form of “punishment” for their integrity.[88]

Sporadic cases of corruption within the education sector have emerged, including bribes being paid to pass examination or to obtain diplomas, but they did not assume such a pervasive dimension as other types of corruption.[89] Undue favours accorded on the basis of nepotism or academic affiliation, instead of scientific merit, have been denounced in the academic community as a frequent motive for recruitments and careers.[90]

In December 2010, a grassroots anticorruption initiative was launched by LIBERA (a network of anti-mafia associations) and Avviso Pubblico (a network of local administrations). The initiative compiled one and half millions signatures to send to the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, expressing support for the parliament’s ratification of international anticorruption treaties and the implementation of a norm that introduced in 2007 but never implemented which allows confiscation and social use of corrupt administrators’ assets.

The principle of transparency as a citizen’s right to access to information related to specific public activities has been one of the cornerstones of the administrative reforms which started in the 1990s. The legislative decree 150/2009 has strengthened its application. Transparency relates to “total accessibility” of information on any aspect of organization, following a model of “open government.”[91] Implementation of the norms proceeds slowly: the National Commission for the Evaluation, Transparency and Integrity of Public Administration (CIVIT), to whom the coordination and control of the reform is delegated, is still answering to interpretative questions posed by agencies and offices, and the monitoring activities by the agency have been postponed.[92]

According to the Open Budget Index, in 2010 Italy scored 58/100, tying for the lowest score in Western Europe. Budget oversight provided by the parliament is strong, but the budget lacks information on outputs, which is necessary to monitor the budget’s impact. It also fails to present data on significant fiscal activities that can have a major impact on the government’s ability to meet its policy goals: information on extra-budgetary funds, quasi-fiscal activities, tax expenditures, contingent and future liabilities, and financial and other assets. Moreover, the executive does not typically consult with members of the legislature as part of the budget preparation process, nor does the legislature hold open budget discussions at which civic groups can testify or submit proposals. The Court of Accounts’ budget oversight is effective, but it does not have channels to communicate with civic groups, either to disseminate its reports or to receive complaints and suggestions.[93] Sporadic small-scale experiments of participatory budgeting are promoted only at a local level.

Public procurement is among the sectors where collusive and corruption practices are more pervasive,[94] due to the combination of the large amount of resources at stake (79.4 billion euro in 2009), the discretion and inefficiency of their allocation, and payment procedures.[95] A general code on government procurement was approved in 2006, in an effort to simplify and adapt to European Union parameters a traditionally complex and over-regulated sector, which has traditionally been characterised by a great amount of public structures and enterprises involved and by a lack of transparency. The implementation of new norms has been delayed and complicated by integrative measures both at national and regional level, which increased legal disputes and bottlenecks.[96] In 2009, only 46.2 percent of public contracts with a value of more than 150,000 euros were awarded through an open and competitive procedure, 10.4 percent with a direct negotiation, and 24.6 percent with direct negotiation without public notice.[97]

As of June 2011, several commentators started to talk of an end, or at least decline, of the Berlusconi era in Italian politics. During the last months the judicial evidence on the prime minister’s private parties, frequented mainly by young women who were regularly rewarded for their participation – in their political career as well as in monetary terms – has produced some scandalization in the public opinion. Berlusconi is currently under trial also over accusations he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and then allegedly used his influence on the police headquarter to release her when she had been taken into custody. Such episodes – which were taken as an opportunity for a harsher dramatization of the conflict between the Prime minister and the judicial power – finally caused a decline of support for Berlusconi and his party. At the local elections in May 2011 the centre-right parties suffered a significant decrease of electoral consent, especially in the Centre and North Italy: in Milan for the first time since 1993 the centre-left coalition elected the major, but also in Neaples, where a political outsider and former judge won with 65% over the center-right candidate. The disappointing result increased tensions with the allied party Northern League, whose electorate has become gradually more critical of the alliance with Berlusconi. Moreover, the split with former allied Casini (leader of a Catholic party) and Fini (leader of a right-wing party) has weakened centre-right’s parliamentary majority, which now depends critically on the support of a few turncoats, undermining any effective political initiative. Difficulties in Berlusconi government’s economic policy has recently become more evident, as stated by the national institute of statistics: “in the decade 2001-2010 [when Berlusconi was prime minister for more than 8 years] Italy realized the worst performance in terms of economic growth among all EU countries, with an average Gnp increase of just 0,2 per cent, compared with 1,3 per cent of EU”. In the same years, the fiscal burden on families – notwithstanding tax reduction has always been the main point in Berlusconi’s electoral program – increased from 27,9 of 2000-2005 to 29,9 per cent of salaries in 2010.[98]

Finally, intestine conflicts emerged also within Berlusconi’s own party Pdl, where criteria for the succession to his unquestionable leadership are still undefined and several factions are trying to increase their bargaining power in the future rebalancing. While facing these challenges, Berlusconi is however favoured by the divisions among heterogeneous opposition parties – which can not credibly propose an alliance ranging from post-communist to right-wing parties – and by the electoral law with a strong majority bonus. As in the last decade, the oversimplification of the electoral competition in a referendum on Berlusconi’s leadership and the influence he exercise on the traditional media may strengthen the appeal of his populist messages. There is a risk, however, that the present uncertainty surrounding the timing and the dynamics of a transition of Italy towards the post-Berlusconi era may turn into a new phase of institutional and political instability.

Recommendations: 
  • The duration of both civil and penal proceedings should be reduced through a simplification of judicial procedures; de-penalization of minor offences; restriction of merely formal guarantees; organization of administrative offices in tribunals according to management criteria; public investment in the use of ICT technologies for legal acts.
  • Political candidates with criminal records in corruption and mafia-related crimes should be prohibited from running for both national and local office.
  • Conflicts of interest, both potential and actual, should be given a more rigorous and severe regulation at all levels of government, defining clear and univocal criteria for incompatibility and limitations, especially in the media system which is crucial for the formation of  public opinion. Effective controls by independent authorities, backed by sanctions, should be correspondently implemented.
  • The Council of Europe anticorruption convention should be ratified by the Italian Parliament, introducing norms on private corruption and influence-trafficking; allowing confiscation of corrupt administrators’ assets; simplifying the complex of norms regulating corruption crimes and extending the time limit of their statute of limitation; sanctioning corruption even when no specific act of the public official can be associated to the bribe payment; introducing whistle-blowers protection and non-punishability for corrupt agents who render spontaneous and complete confession.
  • The anti-corruption authority, made independent from the political power, should be assigned the authority to exercise effective and in-depth controls and investigations, with adequate financial and human resources.
  • Citizens should be given more information and more channels for making proposals, observations and complaints for public decisions
  •  Improve procedures for redress in cases of citizens’ mistreatment by public officers.
Notes: 


[1]Cotta, Maurizio, La crisi del governo di partito all’italiana, in M. Cotta e P. Isernia (a cura di), Il gigante dai piedi di argilla, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996,pp. 11-52.

[2]See http://www.beppegrillo.it/condannati_parlamento.php (accessed February 10, 2011).

[3] Commissione Parlamentare antimafia, Relazione del Presidente Pisanu, Allegato 1, Rome, in http://www.parlamento.it/W3/Lavori.nsf/All/B487197B5140CF38C1257832007EF...; http://www.corriere.it/Media/pdf/2011/01_Allegato_1_violazione.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[4] GRECO - Group of European States against corruption, Evaluation Report on Italy, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, Greco Eval I/II Rep (2008), July 2, 2009 p.3, p.6, in: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round2/GrecoEval1-2(2008)2_Italy_EN.pdf (accessed: Feabruary 11, 2011). In 2009, according to an Eurobarometer poll, 17 per cent of Italian citizens were offered or asked a bribe in the last 12 months, last bar four among 27 European Union countries, whose average is 9 per cent. Eurobarometer, Attitudes of Europeans towards Corruption, 325, wave 72.2, Brussels, November 2009.

[5] Corte dei conti, 2009, Giudizio sul rendiconto generale dello Stato 2008, memoria del Procuratore generale, udienza del 25 giugno 2009, Roma, p. 237.

[6] Cfr. S. Cassese and G. Galli (eds.), L’Italia da semplificare. Le istituzioni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1998.

[7] Judges inquiring on corruption in civil defence contracts observed that: “leading actors beyond the awareness of an almost unlimited power show a real impunity syndrome”..Tribunale di Firenze, Ordinanza di custodia cautelare in carcere, proc.n.1460/09 R.G.I.P., 8 febbraio 2010, 44.

[8] Della Porta, D. and Vannucci, A. When anticorruption policy fails: the Italian case eighteen years after “mani pulite” investigations, in A. Giannakopoulos, Cultures of corruption in Europe, London and New York, Ashgae, 2011. According to World Bank, in 2010 Italian firms to complete four activities required on average 69 procedures (last but four among Oecd countries), and 1500 days (penultimate), with an average time per procedure of almost 22 days (penultimate). Own elaboration from World Bank, Doing business 2011, cit.

[9] Della Porta, D. and Vannucci, A., Mani impunite. Vecchia e nuova corruzione in Italia, Roma, Laterza, 2007.

[10] Council of Europe, Venice Commission, Opinion on the compatibility of the laws Gasparri and Frattini of Italy with the council of Europe standards in the field of freedom of expression and pluralism of the media, Strasbourg, June 13, Opinion 3909/2004, CDL-AD(2005)017, p.44, in http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2005/CDL-AD%282005%29017-e.pdf (accessed: Feabruary 11, 2011).

[11] GRECO - Group of European States against corruption, Evaluation Report on Italy, cit., p.28.

[12] "Il Sole 24 Ore" February 1, 2011, 27.

[13] Transparency International, Global Corruption Barometer 2009, in http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2009/gcb2009#dnld (accessed February 10, 2011).

[14] G. Mannozzi, Gli effetti collaterali della ex-Cirielli, May 29, 2006, in http://www.lavoce.info/articoli/pagina2201.html (accessed May 20, 2011).

[15] D. Crestani, La legge ex-Cirielli e i suoi effetti, November 1, 2005, in http://www.istrevi.it/ius/print/CRESTANI_051101_legge_ex_Cirielli.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011); Rai News, Cassazione, a rischio di prescizione oltre 1400 processi, October 5, 2005, in http://www.rainews24.rai.it/it/news.php?newsid=57144 (accessed May 20, 2011).

[16] GRECO - Group of European States against corruption, Evaluation Report on Italy, cit., p.15

[17] “La Repubblica”, 26 November 2009

[18] “La Repubblica”, June 11, 2009.

[19] Resources allocated to the anticorruption agency have been cut by 80 per cent with the transition to SAET: the number of employees decreased from 57 to 17; a budget of approximately €6.5 million in 2006 was cut to €3.8 million in 2007, €2.5 million in 2008, and €1 million in 2009. SAET – Servizio anticorruzione e trasparenza, Primo Rapporto al Parlamento, Rome 2010, in http://www.innovazione.gov.it/ministro/pdf_home/Rapporto_Parlamento_SAeT...  (accessed: February 11, 2011)

[20]Senato della Repubblica, Disegno di legge n. 2156, Rome, May 4, 2010, in http://www.senato.it/service/PDF/PDFServer/BGT/00478940.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[21] Vannucci, A. The controversial legacy of “Mani Pulite”: a critical analysis of Italian corruption and anti-corruption policies, in “Bulettin of Italian Politics”, 1, n.2, 2009.

[22] Della Porta, D. e Vannucci, A. Mani impunite. Vecchia e nuova corruzione in Italia, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2007; The governance of corruption, London and New York, Ashgate (forthcoming).

[23] See for instance the “price” ranging from 500 to 3000 euro – depending on the difficulty of the examination – of the bribes paid in the faculty of Economics of the University of Bari (“la Repubblica”; July 4, 2006).

[24] Zagara, C. Processo allUniversità, Dedalo, 2007; Perotti, R. L’università truccata, Torino, Einaudi, 2008.

[25] Commissione per la valutazione, la trasparenza e l’integrità delle amministrazioni pubbliche, Delibera n.105/2010 – Linee guida per la predisposizione del piano triennale per la trasparenza el’integrità, in http://www.civit.it/wp-content/uploads/Delibera-n.-105.2010.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[26] Commissione per la valutazione, la trasparenza e l’integrità delle amministrazioni pubbliche, Relazione 2010: l’attività della Civit, Rome, January 2011, in http://www.civit.it/wp-content/uploads/RELAZIONE-ANNUALE-2010-con-link.p... (accessed February 10, 2011).

[27] Open Budget Index 2010, Italy, in http://www.internationalbudget.org/files/OBI2010-Italy.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[28] Cfr. A. Vannucci, Il lato oscuro della discrezionalità. Appalti, rendite e corruzione, in G. Comporti, Le gare pubbliche. Il futuro di un modello, Edizioni scientifiche, Napoli, 2011.

[29] Indicators of the inefficiency of the public contracting system are the time of execution of public contracts, in 2005-2009 on average 78,1 per cent longer than scheduled, and their final costs, 11,5 per cent higher. Autorità di vigilanza sui contratti pubblici di lavori, servizi, forniture, Relazione annuale 2009, Rome, Chamber of Deputies, June 22, 2010, p.39.

[30] Italiadecide, Rapporto 2009. Infrastrutture e territorio, Bologna, Il Mulino 2009.

[31] Cfr. Autorità di vigilanza sui contratti pubblici di lavori, servizi, forniture, Relazione annuale 2009, Rome, Chamber of Deputies, June 22, 2010, p.33, in http://www.avcp.it/portal/rest/jcr/repository/collaboration/Digital%20As... (accessed February 11, 2011) . Contracts valuable less than 150.000 euro in 2005-2008 were awarded with an open and competitive procedure in 15,8  per cent of cases, with a negotiated procedure in 34,1 per cent, directly assigned in 30,3 per cent. Ibid., p. 287.

[32] Istat – Istituto nazionale di statistica, Rapporto annuale. La situazione del paese nel 2010, Roma, 2011, in http://www.istat.it/dati/catalogo/20110523_00/rapporto_2011.pdf (accessed May 20, 2010).

l governo di partito all’italiana, in M. Cotta e P. Isernia (a cura di), Il gigante dai piedi di argilla, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996,pp. 11-52.

[2]  United States Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, in https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/21... (accessed February 11, 2011).

[3] Between 1969 and 1982, 4362 terrorist attacks have been counted, of which about 3/4 have been attributed to radical right; 164 people died in left-wing attacks, 186 in right-wing ones. Among them the secretariat of the Christian Democrat party, Aldo Moro, kidnapped and killed in 1977. Della Porta, D. and Rossi, M. Cifre crudeli. Bilancio dei terrorismi italiani, Bologna, Istituto Cattaneo, 1984

[4] Thirty-six members of Parliament, more than fifty generals (including the highest ranks of the secret service), high level functionaries, journalists, entrepreneurs (among them the future prime minister Silvio Berlusconi) were affiliated to the P2 lodge, whose grand master Gelli – besides its involvement in illicit financial affairs, corruption and illicit brokerage – elaborated a political project, the “Plan for a national rebirth”. According to the final report of the Parliamentary Commission of inquiry, the political strategy of the Masonic lodge P2 was characterized by “a strong anti-system connotation and consequently by an indirect subversive orientation, reflected by Gelli’s allusions to eventual authoritarian solutions, which could also include a military element”, Cfr. Parliamentary Commission of inquiry on the P2 lodge. Final Report, instituted by law 527/1981, approved on July 3, 1984. Cfr. http://italy.indymedia.org/news/2003/04/266325_comment.php (accessed: May 14, 2011),

[5] Brunazzo, M., Gli avvenimenti del 2005, in: G. Amyot and  L. Verzichelli, Politica in Italia. I fatti dell'anno e le interpretazioni, edizione 2006, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2006, p. 34.

[6] “La Repubblica”, March 15, 2006.

[7] The Parliamentary  Electoral Commission verified the result, stating on September 2007 its correctness. Legnante, G. and Corbetta, P. Brogli immaginari e sindrome della cospirazione, in “il Mulino”, n.1, 2007. An opposite thesis conjectured an electoral fraud organized by the executive to favour Forza Italia party, observing the unusual reduction of unmarked ballot papers (4,2 per cent of votes in 2001, 1,1 per cent in 2006 elections), their abnormal distribution in the country, the steady reduction of the gap between centre-right and centre-left coalitions as votes were scrutinized. Deaglio, E.  Cremagnani, A. Uccidete la democrazia!, in “Diario”, November 24, 2006.

[8] Istituto Cattaneo, Elezioni politiche 2008. La maggior crescita dell’astensionismo elettorale del dopoguerra, assieme a quella del 1996, in http://www.cattaneo.org/pubblicazioni/analisi/pdf/Analisi_Cattaneo_Polit... (accessed February 10, 2011).

[9] Della Porta, D. and Vannucci, A., The Godfather’s party. Organized crime and political financing in Italy, in K. Casas-Zamora (ed.),  2011 (forthcoming), Dangerous Liaisons: Organized Crime and Political Finance in Latin America and Beyond. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

[10] According to the judges, he “received punctually electoral support from elections in which he was candidate”, reciprocating with his “guarantee of stability in relationships between Mafiosi entrepreneurships, public and municipal administrations”. Tribunale di Napoli, Ordinanza cautelare contro Casentino Nicola, November 7, 2009, n.36856/01 R.G.N.R., n.74678/02 R.G.GIP.

[11] The frequency of “extraordinary recruitment” without public concourse in the civil service has increased since 1999, when 6,8 per cent of personnel in the public administration had a temporary contract. Such a percentage increased to 11,4 per cent in 2003, more than 14 per cent in 2008: most of them – several hundreds of thousands – have been assumed without concourse due to the budget laws of 2007 and 2008. The lack of merit in recruitment is mirrored by the low qualification: only 23,6 per cent of Italian public servants has an University degree. Torchia, L. (ed.), Il sistema amministrativo italiano, Bologna, Il Mulino, pp. 286-290.

[12] In 2009 16,6 per cent of the 9.500 public managers in local administration and 7,5 per cent of the 68.700 public managers in Ministers has been politically nominated: own elaboration on data from Ministry of Economy, General State Accounting, Personnel accounts 2010, in http://www.contoannuale.tesoro.it/sicoSito/index.jsp (accessed February 10, 2011).

[13] Della Porta, D. and Vannucci, A. Corruption and political financing in Italy, paper presented in the workshop on corruption and political party funding, Villa La Pietra, Florence, October 2000.

[14] “La Repubblica”, October 7, 2009;

[15] “Corriere della Sera”, September 4, 2003; “la Repubblica”, June 21 2008, p.2; “la Repubblica”, October 1, 2010; “Il Giornale”, May 8, 2011.

[16] Marcon, G.,  Le utopie del ben fare, Roma, l’Ancora, 2004.

[17] Reporters Sans Frontieres, World Report 2010: Italy, in http://en.rsf.org/report-italy,111.html (accessed February 11, 2011). A direct impact of political majorities on news content and orientation in Italian public television after 2011 general elections has been demonstrated by Durante, R. and Knight, B., Partisan Control, Media Bias, and Viewer Responses: Evidence from Berlusconi’s Italy, working paper, October 2008, in http://www.business.uzh.ch/professorships/entrepreneurship/workshops/med... (accessed February 11, 2011).

[18] In 2008 the executive and its centre-right political majority had 54,2 per cent of time in national broadcaster political news, the opposition 31,4 per cent; in 2009 the gap increased: 58,3 per cent versus 23,6 per cent (ISIMM Ricerche, 2009: Un anno di informazione televisiva, Perugia, Morlacchi, 2010). In the longer time lag 2001-2010 Berlusconi spoke directly in national broadcaster news 10.260 minutes, while in the same period the leaders of the centre-left spoke altogether 3.668 minutes. (“la Repubblica”, February 7, 2011, p.9). During the 2011 administrative campaign the Agcom fined up to 250.000 euros almost all national television newscast for having offered a disproportionate space to Silvio Berlusconi’s messages and speeches. Fines, however, do not seem to discourage effectively the unbalance of political information; moreover, they are always appealed to the administrative court and rarely paid (“la Repubblica”, May 23, 2011).  

[19] More specifically, in 2009 93,5 per cent of Italian citizens collected information on politics from Tv channels (23 per cent as unique source), 49,9 per cent from newspapers, 31,2 from radio. Cfr. Istat, La partecipazione politica: differenze di genere e territoriali, Rome, March 2010, in http://www.istat.it/salastampa/comunicati/non_calendario/20100308_00/tes... (accessed February 11, 2011).

[20] Osservatorio europeo sulla sicurezza, La sicurezza in Italia e in Europa 2010. Significati, immagine e realtà, Rome, January 2010, in http://www.demos.it/2011/pdf/1648report_sicurezza_2010_unipolis_sintesi.pdf (accessed February 11, 2011).

[21] Cfr. Camera dei deputati, Atto n. 1415-B, in http://www.senato.it/leg/16/BGT/Schede/Ddliter/35538.htm (accessed February 11, 2011).

[22] Reporters Sans Frontieres, World Report 2010: Italy, in http://en.rsf.org/report-italy,111.html (accessed February 11, 2011).

[23] Saviano, R. Gomorra, Milano, Mondadori, 2006.

[24] “Corriere della Sera”, November 28, 2009.

[25] Istat, Cittadini e nuove tecnologie, Roma, December 23, 2010, in http://www.istat.it/salastampa/comunicati/in_calendario/nuovetec/2010122... (accessed February 11, 2011)

[26] A. Gilioli, Wi-FI, chi l’ha visto?, in “L’Espresso”, October 5, 2010.

[27] Amnesty International, G8 Genoa policing operation of July 2001. A summary of concerns, November 2001, EUR 20/102/2001, p.3, in http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR30/012/2001/en/7a15fdf7-d8b3-... (accessed February 11, 2011).

[28] United Nations, Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mission to Italy, January 26, 2009, A/HRC/10/21/Add.5, p.23.

[29] In 2008 the prison density for 100 places in Italy was 129,9 per  cent, last but two among European countries (Council of Europe, Annual penal statistics, survey 2008, PC-CP (2010)07); according to International Centre for Prison Studies data in 2009 the overcrowding increased to 147 per cent, penultimate in Europe (in http://www.univie.ac.at/bimtor/worldmapstatistics/Web/StatPlanet.html, accessed February 11, 2011).

[30] In Italy 72 individuals committed suicide in 2009, the highest rate on convicts since 2001. Ristretti orizzonti, Statistiche sui detenuti suicidi nelle carceri italiane, in  http://www.ristretti.it/areestudio/disagio/ricerca/2008/dossier_suicidi.pdf (accessed February 11, 2011).

[31]  COSPE, Enar, Shadow Report 2005, Racism in Italy 2005, in http://cms.horus.be/files/99935/MediaArchive/pdf/Italy_2005.pdf (accessed February 11, 2011).

[32] Medecins sans frontiers, Over the Wall. A tour of Italy’s migrant centres, January 2010, p.2, in http://www.statewatch.org/news/2010/feb/italy-msf.pdf (accessed February 11, 2011).

[33] United Nations, Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, cit., p.23

[34] International Centre for Prison Studies, data from the Italian Ministry of Justice, in http://www.prisonstudies.org/info/worldbrief/wpb_country.php?country=147 (accessed May 12, 2011).

[35] The implementation of the Italian law, in fact, conflicts with the return policy outlined in the EU Return Directive, which adheres to the fundamental rights of the person and “precludes national rules imposing a prison term on an illegally staying third-country national who does not comply with an order to leave the national territory.”. European Court of Justice, Judgement C-61/11 PPU, April 28, 2011, in http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=EN&Submit=rechercher&numaff=C-61/11 (accessed May 20, 2011).

[36] A. La Spina (ed.), I costi dell’illegalità. Mafia e estorsioni in Sicilia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2008.

[37] Servizio di bilancio del Senato, Il bilancio dello Stato 2011-2013. Una analisi delle spese per missioni e programmi. Novembre 2010, n.40, p. 67, in http://www.senato.it/documenti/repository/dossier/bilancio/Elementi_di_d... (accessed May 20, 2011).

[38] United States of America Department of Justice, Trafficking in persons report, 10th edition, Washington, June 2010, pp. 186-7, in http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/142979.pdf (accessed February 11, 2011).

[39] In 2006 only 17 per cent of elected Members of Parliament and 9 per cent of ministerial officials were women, percentages that in 2010 have increased  to 27 and 28 per cent respectively. World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2010, Geneva, Switzerland 2010, pp. 170-1.

[40] Eurobarometer, Discrimination in the EU in 2009, n.317, 61.Bruxelles, in http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_317_en.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011).

[41] Istat, La popolazione straniera residente in Italia, October 12, 2010, in http://www.istat.it/salastampa/comunicati/non_calendario/20101012_00/testointegrale20101012.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011).

[42]  Amnesty International, Report 2009, State of the World’s Human Rights. Italy, in http://report2009.amnesty.org/en/regions/europe-central-asia/italy(accessed February 10, 2011).

[43] Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Forum Berlin, Intolerance, Prejudice and Discrimination. A European Report, 2011, in http://www.cirdi.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Ebert-Foundation-Intolerance-in-EU.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011).

[44] Eurobarometer, Discrimination in the EU in 2009, n.317, 61.Bruxelles.

[45] ENAR Shadow Report 2009/2010, Laura Di Pasquale, Racism and Discrimination in Italy, 2010, 4, in http://cms.horus.be/files/99935/MediaArchive/Italy.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011)

[46] Amnesty International, Press release n.033, April 1, 2011, in http://www.amnesty.it/a-lampedusa-creata-una-crisi-umanitaria (accessed May 20, 2011).

[47] Il Sole-24 Ore, May 18, 2011.

[48] In 2009 irregular forms of employment in Italy amounted to 12,2 per cent of the total, corresponding to 6,4 of GNP: rate of irregularity was 24,5 per cent in agriculture, 10,5 per cent in the construction industry, 18,7 per cent in commercial services. Istat, Le misure dell’economia sommersa secondo le statistiche ufficiali. Anni 2000-2008, Rome, July 13, 2010.

[49] European industrial relations observatory on.-line. Italy industrial relations profile, in http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/country/italy_3.htm (accessed May 20, 2011).

[50] European industrial relations observatory on.-line. Trade union membership 2003-2008, in http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/studies/tn0904019s/tn0904019s.htm (accessed May 20, 2011).

[51] della Porta, D., The Global Justice Movement in Cross-national and Transnational Perpective, New York, Paradigm,  2007.

[52] Institute for social research and analysis, Political participation of young people in Europe. Final Comparative Report, Wien, November 2005, pp. 76-84, http://www.sora.at/fileadmin/images/content/Pages/euyoupart_ergebnisse_finalcomparativereport.pdf (accessed May 20, 2010).

[53] Della Porta, D. and A. Vannucci, Mani Impunite. Vecchia e nuova corruzione in Italia, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2007..

[54] Governo Italiano. Servizio anticorruzione e trasparenza (SAeT), Relazione al parlamento. Anno 2010, 119, in http://www.anticorruzione.it/Portals/altocommissario/Documents/Altro/Anticorruzione.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011).

[55] La Repubblica, May 19, 2011.

[56] Morisi, 1999,Anatomia della magistratura italian, Bologna, Il Mulino,  pp. 93-95

[57] The conclusion of penal trial in 2008 in Italy required on average 1291 days, almost 4 years. Ministero della Giustizia, Analisi della durata dei procedimenti penali, in http://www.giustizia.it/giustizia/it/mg_1_14_1.wp?previsiousPage=mg_14_7... (accessed February 10, 2011).

[58] In 2010 among European Union countries Italy scored the highest number of both pending cases and adverse judgements related to the length of the judicial proceedings. Council of Europe, Annual Report 2010 of the European Court of Human Rights, January 2011,  in http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/F2735259-F638-4E83-82DF-AAC7E934A1D... (accessed February 10, 2011).

[59] La Repubblica, Novembre 23, 2009; Corriere della Sera, Novembre 24, 2009.

[60] Della Porta, D. and H. Reiter, Polizia e Protesta, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2004.

[61] Transparency International, Global Corruption Barometer 2009, in http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2009/gcb2009#dnld (accessed February 10, 2011)

[62] Eurobarometer, Attitudes of Europeans towards Corruption, 325, wave 72.2, Brussels, November 2009, 23, in http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_325_en.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011).

[63] Agnoletto, Vittorio e Lorenzo Guadagnucci, L’eclissi della democrazia, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2011.

[64] Della Porta, D. and Vannucci, A., Corruption in Policing and Law Enforcement, in S. Einstein, M. Amir (eds.), Police Corruption: Paradigms, Models and Concepts, The Office of International Criminal Justice, pp. 21-52, 2003.

[65] Corriere della Sera, July 6, 2009; I. Cucchi, G. Bianconi, Vorrei dirti che non eri solo, Milano, Rizzoli, 2010.

[66] With almost 6 millions of civil processes were pending, in 2010 Italy scores last but one among OECD countries for the time required – 1210 days, against an average of 517 – to enforce a typical contract. World Bank, Doing business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, Washington. http://www.doingbusiness.org/~/media/FPDKM/Doing%20Business/Documents/An... (accessed February 10, 2011). In 2008 the average duration of civil trials  has been 1108 days in the first instance of judgment, 1197 in the appeal, totally more than 6 years. Ministero della Giustizia, Analisi della durata dei processi civili, in http://www.giustizia.it/giustizia/it/mg_1_14_1.wp?previsiousPage=mg_1_12...

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[67] In 1996 30,6 per cent of Italian electors saw corruption as the first or the second most important problem of the country. In the general election of 2001 the percentage of those who considered it as one of the two most important problems fell to 5,5 per cent, in the 2008 election only 0,2 per cent of Italian electors considered corruption the most important problem. Own elaboration from Itanes (Italian National Election Studies) data (http://www.itanes.org/index.asp?s=dati) (accessed February 10, 2011).

[69] Commissione Parlamentare antimafia, Relazione del Presidente Pisanu, Allegato 1, Rome, in http://www.parlamento.it/W3/Lavori.nsf/All/B487197B5140CF38C1257832007EF...; http://www.corriere.it/Media/pdf/2011/01_Allegato_1_violazione.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[70] GRECO - Group of European States against corruption, Evaluation Report on Italy, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, Greco Eval I/II Rep (2008), July 2, 2009 p.3, p.6, in: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round2/GrecoEval1-2(2008)2_Italy_EN.pdf (accessed: Feabruary 11, 2011). In 2009, according to an Eurobarometer poll, 17 per cent of Italian citizens were offered or asked a bribe in the last 12 months, last bar four among 27 European Union countries, whose average is 9 per cent. Eurobarometer, Attitudes of Europeans towards Corruption, 325, wave 72.2, Brussels, November 2009.

[71] Corte dei conti, 2009, Giudizio sul rendiconto generale dello Stato 2008, memoria del Procuratore generale, udienza del 25 giugno 2009, Roma, p. 237.

[72] Cfr. S. Cassese and G. Galli (eds.), L’Italia da semplificare. Le istituzioni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1998.

[73] Judges inquiring on corruption in civil defence contracts observed that: “leading actors beyond the awareness of an almost unlimited power show a real impunity syndrome”..Tribunale di Firenze, Ordinanza di custodia cautelare in carcere, proc.n.1460/09 R.G.I.P., 8 febbraio 2010, 44.

[74] Della Porta, D. and Vannucci, A. When anticorruption policy fails: the Italian case eighteen years after “mani pulite” investigations, in A. Giannakopoulos, Cultures of corruption in Europe, London and New York, Ashgae, 2011. According to World Bank, in 2010 Italian firms to complete four activities required on average 69 procedures (last but four among Oecd countries), and 1500 days (penultimate), with an average time per procedure of almost 22 days (penultimate). Own elaboration from World Bank, Doing business 2011, cit.

[75] Della Porta, D. and Vannucci, A., Mani impunite. Vecchia e nuova corruzione in Italia, Roma, Laterza, 2007.

[76] Council of Europe, Venice Commission, Opinion on the compatibility of the laws Gasparri and Frattini of Italy with the council of Europe standards in the field of freedom of expression and pluralism of the media, Strasbourg, June 13, Opinion 3909/2004, CDL-AD(2005)017, p.44, in http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2005/CDL-AD%282005%29017-e.pdf (accessed: Feabruary 11, 2011).

[77] GRECO - Group of European States against corruption, Evaluation Report on Italy, cit., p.28.

[78] "Il Sole 24 Ore" February 1, 2011, 27.

[79] Transparency International, Global Corruption Barometer 2009, in http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2009/gcb2009#dnld (accessed February 10, 2011).

[80] G. Mannozzi, Gli effetti collaterali della ex-Cirielli, May 29, 2006, in http://www.lavoce.info/articoli/pagina2201.html (accessed May 20, 2011).

[81] D. Crestani, La legge ex-Cirielli e i suoi effetti, November 1, 2005, in http://www.istrevi.it/ius/print/CRESTANI_051101_legge_ex_Cirielli.pdf (accessed May 20, 2011); Rai News, Cassazione, a rischio di prescizione oltre 1400 processi, October 5, 2005, in http://www.rainews24.rai.it/it/news.php?newsid=57144 (accessed May 20, 2011).

[82] GRECO - Group of European States against corruption, Evaluation Report on Italy, cit., p.15

[83] “La Repubblica”, 26 November 2009

[84] “La Repubblica”, June 11, 2009.

[85] Resources allocated to the anticorruption agency have been cut by 80 per cent with the transition to SAET: the number of employees decreased from 57 to 17; a budget of approximately €6.5 million in 2006 was cut to €3.8 million in 2007, €2.5 million in 2008, and €1 million in 2009. SAET – Servizio anticorruzione e trasparenza, Primo Rapporto al Parlamento, Rome 2010, in http://www.innovazione.gov.it/ministro/pdf_home/Rapporto_Parlamento_SAeT...  (accessed: February 11, 2011)

[86]Senato della Repubblica, Disegno di legge n. 2156, Rome, May 4, 2010, in http://www.senato.it/service/PDF/PDFServer/BGT/00478940.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[87] Vannucci, A. The controversial legacy of “Mani Pulite”: a critical analysis of Italian corruption and anti-corruption policies, in “Bulettin of Italian Politics”, 1, n.2, 2009.

[88] Della Porta, D. e Vannucci, A. Mani impunite. Vecchia e nuova corruzione in Italia, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2007; The governance of corruption, London and New York, Ashgate (forthcoming).

[89] See for instance the “price” ranging from 500 to 3000 euro – depending on the difficulty of the examination – of the bribes paid in the faculty of Economics of the University of Bari (“la Repubblica”; July 4, 2006).

[90] Zagara, C. Processo allUniversità, Dedalo, 2007; Perotti, R. L’università truccata, Torino, Einaudi, 2008.

[91] Commissione per la valutazione, la trasparenza e l’integrità delle amministrazioni pubbliche, Delibera n.105/2010 – Linee guida per la predisposizione del piano triennale per la trasparenza el’integrità, in http://www.civit.it/wp-content/uploads/Delibera-n.-105.2010.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[92] Commissione per la valutazione, la trasparenza e l’integrità delle amministrazioni pubbliche, Relazione 2010: l’attività della Civit, Rome, January 2011, in http://www.civit.it/wp-content/uploads/RELAZIONE-ANNUALE-2010-con-link.p... (accessed February 10, 2011).

[93] Open Budget Index 2010, Italy, in http://www.internationalbudget.org/files/OBI2010-Italy.pdf (accessed February 10, 2011).

[94] Cfr. A. Vannucci, Il lato oscuro della discrezionalità. Appalti, rendite e corruzione, in G. Comporti, Le gare pubbliche. Il futuro di un modello, Edizioni scientifiche, Napoli, 2011.

[95] Indicators of the inefficiency of the public contracting system are the time of execution of public contracts, in 2005-2009 on average 78,1 per cent longer than scheduled, and their final costs, 11,5 per cent higher. Autorità di vigilanza sui contratti pubblici di lavori, servizi, forniture, Relazione annuale 2009, Rome, Chamber of Deputies, June 22, 2010, p.39.

[96] Italiadecide, Rapporto 2009. Infrastrutture e territorio, Bologna, Il Mulino 2009.

[97] Cfr. Autorità di vigilanza sui contratti pubblici di lavori, servizi, forniture, Relazione annuale 2009, Rome, Chamber of Deputies, June 22, 2010, p.33, in http://www.avcp.it/portal/rest/jcr/repository/collaboration/Digital%20As... (accessed February 11, 2011) . Contracts valuable less than 150.000 euro in 2005-2008 were awarded with an open and competitive procedure in 15,8  per cent of cases, with a negotiated procedure in 34,1 per cent, directly assigned in 30,3 per cent. Ibid., p. 287.

[98] Istat – Istituto nazionale di statistica, Rapporto annuale. La situazione del paese nel 2010, Roma, 2011, in http://www.istat.it/dati/catalogo/20110523_00/rapporto_2011.pdf (accessed May 20, 2010).