Chapter

Presidentialization, Italian Style

Mauro Calise

in The Presidentialization of Politics

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199252015
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602375 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199252017.003.0004

Series: Comparative Politics

Presidentialization, Italian Style

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Italy represents, in most respects, an ideal-type for the presidentialization of the political system: the role of individual leaders has been greatly enhanced vis-à-vis their parties, while they have simultaneously gained a stronger hold over the executive branch of the state through the growing autonomy of the Prime Minister’s office and the exercise of an increasingly monocratic form of rule. Presidentialization has also deeply affected the electoral process: campaign style, media focus, and voting behaviour have all come to reflect an increasingly personalized form of leadership.

Among the major causes of presidentialization, two—the internationalization of politics and the growth of the state—refer to general trends common to most industrial democracies. Thus, the presidentialization of the Italian political system must be seen, at least in part, as a response to the growing demands laid upon the political executive by the changing role of the state, both domestically and internationally. However, in order to account for the momentous and rapid nature of change in Italy, one needs to focus primarily upon the critical role played by the other two factors: the erosion of traditional social cleavage politics and the mediatization of politics.

Keywords: cleavage politics; Italy; media; mediatization; personalization; presidentialization; prime minister

Chapter.  8312 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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