Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
In October 2009, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in Rome against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s attacks on the media, which had covered the premier’s personal life, including allegations that he had sex with a teenage girl. Meanwhile, parliament adopted a controversial new immigration law, and the country made gains against the influence of organized crime.
In December, Berlusconi was attacked while getting into a car in Milan by a man with a history of mental illness; Berlusconi suffered two broken teeth and a small nose fracture.
Italy is an electoral democracy. The president, whose role is largely ceremonial but sometimes politically influential, is elected for a seven-year term by Parliament and representatives of the regions. Giorgio Napolitano, a former Communist, was selected for the post in 2006. The president chooses the prime minister, who is often, but not always, the leader of the largest party in the 630-seat lower house, the Chamber of Deputies. The upper house is the Senate, with 315 seats. Members of both chambers serve five-year terms. The constitution also divides the country into 20 administrative regions.
Italy is a destination country for the trafficking of women and children for sexual and labor exploitation. The Italian government has made efforts to tackle the problem by increasing its prosecution of traffickers and it also finances nongovernmental organizations that work to raise awareness of the problem and support trafficking victims.