The constant scandals involving parties and the political class are now perceived as endemic to Italian democracy, so much so that they have undermined its authority.
The fact is all the more serious when one considers that, over time, i parties have left the perimeter pertaining to them ed they occupied every public space: manage applications and appointments to the main institutional positions; they choose the boards of public companies, large and small; decide the country's policies; they participate in a conspicuous distribution of public money, in the form of public funding first, and electoral reimbursement now.
Hence the importance of one party reform.
The Constitution, in art. 49, speaks of it in these terms: "All citizens have the right to freely associate in parties in order to contribute with a democratic method to determining national politics".
Not much, in fact: for the Constituent, parties are associations of citizens, free and democratic. Little more specify the other two articles of the Constitution connected to the 49: the art. 18, on the right of association, and art. 98, on the limitations for joining parties. There constitutional prudence should not come as a surprise: the historical period in which it was enacted inevitably had as a priority the freedom of the parties as well, not interfering in their internal regulation.
Now, however, the context has completely changed and party discipline can no longer be postponed. After all, there are subjects governed by private law, including foundations, which in order to obtain legal personality must submit a specific application and follow a complex bureaucratic procedure, only at the end of which they can, if necessary, be registered in the Register of legal entities set up at the Prefectures. We don't understand why, then, this shouldn't also apply to parties, which, on the one hand, perform an important public task, and, on the other, benefit from considerable amounts of state funding.
It goes without saying that it is not easy to establish the limit beyond which the intervention of the legislator in the internal organization of the parties risks limiting their autonomy, with possible indirect consequences also on their ideological identity. This, however, cannot affect the right of citizens to demand that public money be assigned only to those associations of people who, meeting the requirements established by law, can be defined as parties.
Naturally, it would be naïve to imagine that a law implementing art. 49 may be the solution to any degeneration of the party system. Statutes and Rules cannot, by themselves, ensure better matches, or more “moral”. However, by imposing compliance with certain constraints, the legislator can obtain at least two results. On one side, monitor the democratic nature of the parties, thereby promoting the political participation of citizens encouraged by the Constitution. On the other, help increase transparency in party management, subjecting the granting of electoral reimbursements and any other form of public funding to compliance with legislative constraints.
It shouldn't be an obligation: our proposal is that i parties should be able to choose whether or not to submit to the provision of the legislatoraware, however, that this affects the right to use public resources.