Reforms: Mazella proposing new format for ruling parties
Published February 7th 2004 in Agenzia Giornalistica Italia

Rome, Italy, Feb 7 - Luigi Mazzella, the minister for public administration, is suggesting a reform to the voting law and the Constitution which entails an advantage in parliament for the party governing. A formula that differs from the advantage of having a majority. Speaking in the School for Public Administration in Bologna, the Rt. Hon. Mazzelli confirmed, "Now is the time for me to announce my own personal 'corrective' theory of majority advantage that differs from that to which the theorists on the subject are proposing. The sort of correction that I have been suggesting for over ten years now is what I can a 'Government advantage'. To better distinguish how it differs from the 'majority advantage', I will from now on speak of an 'advantage that guarantees governability'. Of course, to reward the winning coalition with a 'plus' that is patently not wanted by the voters, you need constitutional changes that allow the number of Parliamentary components to be adjusted. But these changes do not impinge on the essence of democracy in our country and serve only to provide a greater effectiveness and efficiency in the government's term of office. "There would be many advantages, in my opinion, of having a proportional voting system that has been improved in this way compared to the current system of majority rule. The resulting 'advantage for the government's stability' together with the 'majority advantage' would rest in the fact that the winning coalition of parties (or even the single ruling party) in the elections would have the sole responsibility of forming the cabinet or of forming, at any rate, part of its own Parliamentary majority. This means it would have the right to a further 'patrol' of Parliamentary 'reserves', if the margin of votes between the ruling party and the opposition turned out to be lower than a certain proportion of the total number of votes in each of the two Houses. In a corresponding proportion, obviously, to that needed to re-establish a sufficient percentage to guarantee a true, workable government stability. And in proportion to the numeric ratio of each party or political group forming the majority. The 'patrol' of 'reserves' would be drawn from a single national list of non-elects from the same political groupings. As in the case of the majority advantage, the 'advantage for governmental stability' would be to shelter the executive from ambushes or from impoverishing contingents of parliamentary forces trying to form a majority purely for reasons of legitimate absence (illness, leave of absence, trips abroad and the like)". "The difference between the 'advantage for governmental stability' and the 'majority advantage'", continued Mazzella, "would lie in the fact that the 'call' of parliamentary 'reserves' in 'surplus' could happen once and only once during the government's term in office and would depend on the length of this term. When the government or its majority was defeated, it would determine for the outgoing party, and obviously only for them, the automatic and final termination of the 'surplus' of 'reserves' obtained'. The mechanism would be brought back in with the same rules for another or other parties coming into government in the same winning coalition, on condition that the new victors had the same percentage of the vote, obviously. Majorities, yes but at the same time with an insufficient number of votes in the existing parliamentary majority for an effective, stable and definitive ruling government. "The remedy would definitely function for an effective and long-lasting government in the country without compromising the various parties' freedom of choice or action. This is because the remedy would come into action only after the agenda had been finalized and approved, with the voters' support, meaning the majority of Italians. The essential representation of the various parties in parliament wouldn't change..."