"Ocone's corner", the weekly column of Corrado Ocone, philosopher and essayist, on the role of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, in this political phase
Our Republic is, at least on paper, a parliamentary type. Yet over the years, Parliament has been gradually deprecated by the governments in charge of many of its prerogatives, as the abuse by the last executives of the decrees shows significantly. In recent months, due to the health emergency, the executive, and indeed its chief (who according to the Constitution should only be the coordinator), has centralized in his hands a disproportionate power that has come to limit the fundamental freedoms of citizens.
The situation imposed it to some extent, but it is obvious to everyone that limits were crossed which, perhaps not only from a symbolic point of view, were not to be overcome, or which in any case had to be clarified better. Then the arrogant attitude of the Prime Minister towards the Chambers made an impression, treated almost as a sort of pied-à-terre of Palazzo Chigi.
In addition to the reported but mild references to the "collaboration" between the majority and the opposition forces, could the head of state do more to avoid this drift? Did his role and function allow him?
I believe that to answer these questions, it is necessary to keep in mind both the material and the formal Constitution of our Republic, that is, both what is written in black and white in the Charter and that is the practice established through the concrete action of the previous Republican heads of state.
We say that the Charter on many points is ambiguous, and it is unclear what the effective room for maneuver for those staying at the Quirinale is for it. This could have been wanted: "accordion" powers allow the President, on the one hand, to be little more than a "notary" of the political game, when everything proceeds along the tracks of democracy; on the other, to intervene when the system is jammed and great risks arise for the country that the normal dialectic between political forces cannot resolve.
Indeed, and here the Constitution is clear, like the King in a constitutional monarchy, the President of the Republic "represents national unity" (art. 87). Hence, the head of state can be a notary, arbiter and even interventionist in the event that stability and national cohesion are judged to be in danger. Interventions, in the latter case, to be carried out either through the weapon of persuasion ( moral suasion ), or by exercising some more concrete prerogatives such as the message to the Chambers and even the dissolution of the same.
Precisely because of this strong, or rather supreme, political value that the acts of the Head of State come to assume, it can be said that even intervening as little as possible, or not intervening at all, especially in moments of undoubted crisis and danger, is a markedly political act .
Sergio Mattarella has followed this path and has not considered in recent months that it was necessary, precisely to guarantee unity and national cohesion and to guarantee the fundamental freedoms, to act more forcefully and even, as has been asked from many sides, to find an alternative to a government, such as the one chaired by Conte, which is weak, divided and minority in the country, therefore inconclusive and ineffective. Even the possibility of giving the word back to the people, which obviously is not a due act if there is a majority in Parliament, was not taken into consideration by Mattarella.
Either one: either the President of the Republic has believed and still believes that Italy is not facing serious problems despite the dramatic incipient crisis: or that there is no alternative to this government and that in any case seeking it would put us in a even more dangerous situation.
Excluding the first hypothesis, since it is not even a moment to doubt Mattarella's reasonableness and common sense, the second remains. Which, without too much imagination, can be declined like this: the Conte government guarantees an anchorage to the European Union which is considered a "national interest" and which other solutions could put at risk.
In essence, Europe is the ultimate holder of our sovereignty. This could also be accepted, but under two conditions: if this decision had been taken in full transparency and with the consent of those who are still formally the holders of sovereignty over our territory, that is, the Italian people; that the European Union had within it a rate of democracy greater or at least equal to that of the individual States that are part of it.
Since it is not possible to see these two conditions satisfied, it seems to me imperative to solicit an operation of truth towards the Italians at least on these fundamental points.
(This article appeared on the limited edition of Nazione Futura magazine distributed on Saturday 4 July 2020 during the center-right event in Piazza del Popolo)
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/cosa-pensa-mattarella-del-governo-conte/ on Sun, 05 Jul 2020 05:09:31 +0000.