Italy

   

Quality of Democracy

#20
Key Findings
Despite gains in recent years, Italy falls into the middle of the pack internationally (rank 20) in terms of quality of democracy. Its overall score on this measure has improved by 0.5 points relative to 2014.

A recently passed electoral law combines single-member districts and multi-member districts with a proportional system. A new party-financing system, based on citizens’ voluntary assignment of small income-tax payments to parties, has proved unsuccessful. The Berlusconi-controlled Mediaset media group retains considerable political influence, but public-television neutrality has increased.

Freedom-of-information requests are often not answered in a timely manner, but a new law significantly extends the range of publicly accessible documents. A series of judicial reforms is helping to reduce a longstanding backlog of judicial proceedings. A law against torture has been introduced after years of discussion.

A new law approving same-sex civil partnerships has been passed. Discrimination against immigrants, particularly in the labor market, remains a problem. Gender balance in the corporate sector is a concern. Anti-corruption efforts have been strengthened, but corruption remains a serious problem, in part due to opportunities opened by regulatory complexity.

Electoral Processes

#18

How fair are procedures for registering candidates and parties?

10
 9

Legal regulations provide for a fair registration procedure for all elections; candidates and parties are not discriminated against.
 8
 7
 6


A few restrictions on election procedures discriminate against a small number of candidates and parties.
 5
 4
 3


Some unreasonable restrictions on election procedures exist that discriminate against many candidates and parties.
 2
 1

Discriminating registration procedures for elections are widespread and prevent a large number of potential candidates or parties from participating.
Candidacy Procedures
9
The registration procedure is fair and no unreasonable exclusion exists. The number of signatures requested for registration of parties creates some obstacles to new and small parties, but similar small obstacles are accepted in many democracies to avoid non-serious candidacies. The validity of the process is controlled by independent judicial offices. From time to time there have been disputes over the validity of some of the signatures collected by the largest parties. The procedures for the choice of candidates vary from party to party, but there is an increasing use of primaries to make them more open and democratic.

The old electoral system was based on closed electoral lists in large districts. Consequently, voters had no option of expressing a preference for a single candidate, but had to accept the whole party ticket. The new electoral law, approved in November 2017, envisages a mixed electoral system for both chamber and senate. One-third of the members of parliament will be elected in single-member districts; the other two-thirds will be elected through a proportional system in small multi-member districts.

To what extent do candidates and parties have fair access to the media and other means of communication?

10
 9

All candidates and parties have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. All major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of the range of different political positions.
 8
 7
 6


Candidates and parties have largely equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. The major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of different political positions.
 5
 4
 3


Candidates and parties often do not have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. While the major media outlets represent a partisan political bias, the media system as a whole provides fair coverage of different political positions.
 2
 1

Candidates and parties lack equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communications. The major media outlets are biased in favor of certain political groups or views and discriminate against others.
Media Access
8
A significant portion of television channels are owned by a single political leader, Silvio Berlusconi, and demonstrate a special favor toward him and his party. Overall, however, the media offers a reasonably fair treatment of all political candidates. The most important national newspapers and privately owned television broadcasters offer fairly equal access to all positions. State television maintains a generally neutral position. Some political parties own their own media outlets, including daily newspapers (subsidized by the state) and small television channels. However, the impact of these media outlets is limited.

Access to television by parties and candidates is regulated by a law (Law 28/2000) that provides for equal time for each party during electoral campaigns. An independent oversight authority (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni) ensures that the rules are followed and has the power to sanction violations. This power is effectively used. Public television is controlled by a parliamentary committee, which reflects the composition of the whole parliament. Although the government in office typically attracts more airtime than the opposition, the treatment of the different parties by the public broadcaster is fairly balanced overall. In the print sector, the large variety of newspapers both with and without a clear political orientation provides sufficiently balanced coverage of all positions.

As the role of electronic (internet) and social media in political contests continues to grow, politicians and parties can rely increasingly on these new forms of media to reach citizens and voters more directly. This fact makes political players more independent from large media groups and public media.

To what extent do all citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right of participation in national elections?

10
 9

All adult citizens can participate in national elections. All eligible voters are registered if they wish to be. There are no discriminations observable in the exercise of the right to vote. There are no disincentives to voting.
 8
 7
 6


The procedures for the registration of voters and voting are for the most part effective, impartial and nondiscriminatory. Citizens can appeal to courts if they feel being discriminated. Disincentives to voting generally do not constitute genuine obstacles.
 5
 4
 3


While the procedures for the registration of voters and voting are de jure non-discriminatory, isolated cases of discrimination occur in practice. For some citizens, disincentives to voting constitute significant obstacles.
 2
 1

The procedures for the registration of voters or voting have systemic discriminatory effects. De facto, a substantial number of adult citizens are excluded from national elections.
Voting and Registration Rights
9
The registration of citizens for electoral purposes is done automatically by municipal offices and there are no significant problems with this procedure.

All citizens are notified via mail at home of their voting rights and supplied with the relevant information. Citizens are entitled to appeal to independent judicial bodies if they are mistakenly excluded from registration. Citizens living abroad are also entitled to vote. There are no significant complaints about the process.

Polling stations are very numerous and typically very near to places of residence. National and regional elections normally take place on two consecutive days, which increases the opportunities for working people to vote. Turnout has diminished significantly in recent years but is still among the highest in Europe. The lack of an absentee voting system makes voting more difficult for citizens residing abroad or in other regions of Italy.

To what extent is private and public party financing and electoral campaign financing transparent, effectively monitored and in case of infringement of rules subject to proportionate and dissuasive sanction?

10
 9

The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring to that respect. Effective measures to prevent evasion are effectively in place and infringements subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
 8
 7
 6


The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring. Although infringements are subject to proportionate sanctions, some, although few, loopholes and options for circumvention still exist.
 5
 4
 3


The state provides that donations to political parties shall be published. Party financing is subject to some degree of independent monitoring but monitoring either proves regularly ineffective or proportionate sanctions in case of infringement do not follow.
 2
 1

The rules for party and campaign financing do not effectively enforce the obligation to make the donations public. Party and campaign financing is neither monitored independently nor, in case of infringements, subject to proportionate sanctions.
Party Financing
5
State financing was regulated until February 2014 by a 1993 law (Legge del 10 Dicembre 1993 no. 515) and was monitored by an independent judiciary organ – the Court of Accounts (Corte dei Conti) – which checked the accounts provided by parties and could sanction infringements. Private financing must be declared by candidates and parties, and is controlled by regional judicial bodies. The existing rules about private and public financing of parties and their enforcement are largely inadequate for a fully transparent system. The degree of publicity over private contributions is largely left to the parties and in many cases is very defective. In recent years, many cases of individual or institutional abuse or even fraud of public party funding emerged in almost all of the political parties.

A new reform (Law 21 February 2014, no. 13) has significantly reduced public financing for parties. It has introduced a new regime of fiscal exemptions for private contributions and created a new oversight institution, the “Commissione di garanzia degli statuti e per la trasparenza e il controllo dei rendiconti dei partiti politici,” whose members are nominated by judicial bodies. The new system only became fully effective in 2017. The main financial source should be the “due per mille” policy, which enables citizens to nominate a political party to receive 0.2% of their income tax. So far, this system has proven highly unsuccessful. In 2015, only 1.1 million out of 41 million people who paid income tax (2.7%) exercised this option. This percentage went down to 2.38% in 2016, a sign of the apathy Italians have for political parties. Private donations are also very low in spite of the fiscal exemptions. An important source are the funds distributed by the two chambers to parliamentary groups, approximately €50,000 for each member of parliament. Part of these funds are transferred to the party organizations, while members of parliament contribute part of their parliamentary salary to their party.

Do citizens have the opportunity to take binding political decisions when they want to do so?

10
 9

Citizens have the effective opportunity to actively propose and take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through popular initiatives and referendums. The set of eligible issues is extensive, and includes national, regional, and local issues.
 8
 7
 6


Citizens have the effective opportunity to take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through either popular initiatives or referendums. The set of eligible issues covers at least two levels of government.
 5
 4
 3


Citizens have the effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure. The set of eligible issues is limited to one level of government.
 2
 1

Citizens have no effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure.
Popular Decision-Making
7
The right to promote referenda and citizens’ initiatives is enshrined in the constitution at the national level of government and is replicated in most of the regions by regional statutes. Referenda may be authorized also at municipal and provincial levels. Ordinary referenda, which can only abrogate existing laws or part of them, have taken place rather frequently at national level. In order to launch a referendum, the proposal must collect at least 500,000 signatures and the referendum is only valid if there is a turnout of at least 50%. Between 1974 and 2016, 67 referenda took place. There are some limited restrictions to the issues that can be submitted to a referendum.

Referenda have had a substantial impact at national level, including ending the use of nuclear energy following the Chernobyl disaster. In some cases, however, the effects of a successful referendum have been overturned by parliamentary laws which while paying formal respect to the referendum results have, in practice, reestablished in new forms some of the rules that had been abrogated.

Confirmative referenda may be promoted on constitutional reforms approved without a two-thirds parliamentary majority. A recent case was the referendum of December 2016, which rejected the broad constitutional reform promoted by the Renzi government. Consultative referenda were promoted in October 2017 by the Lombardy and Veneto regions, which proposed increasing regional autonomy. The decision, however, will depend on the outcome of negotiations between the central state and regions.

Citizens can also promote legislative initiatives and in some regions and municipalities instruments of deliberative democracy (citizens’ juries, deliberative polling) are available, but these instruments do not have legally binding effects. At local and regional levels, popular decision-making is rarely used effectively.

Access to Information

#13

To what extent are the media independent from government?

10
 9

Public and private media are independent from government influence; their independence is institutionally protected and fully respected by the incumbent government.
 8
 7
 6


The incumbent government largely respects the independence of media. However, there are occasional attempts to exert influence.
 5
 4
 3


The incumbent government seeks to ensure its political objectives indirectly by influencing the personnel policies, organizational framework or financial resources of public media, and/or the licensing regime/ market access for private media.
 2
 1

Major media outlets are frequently influenced by the incumbent government promoting its partisan political objectives. To ensure pro-government media reporting, governmental actors exert direct political pressure and violate existing rules of media regulation or change them to benefit their interests.
Media Freedom
7
While in the past both center-right and center-left governments had exerted a significant or even a strong influence on public media, starting with the Monti cabinet governments have taken a more detached position. The public media organization, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), had previously been steered by government and parties in both its personnel policies and the control of its organizational frameworks and resources. After the Monti government nominated as heads of RAI new, fairly independent personalities who have ensured an enhanced political neutrality of the public media, cabinet interference has declined.

The Renzi government’s reform of RAI has increased the powers of the CEO while reducing the powers of the board, which has typically comprised representatives of the main political parties. This has reduced the direct influence of political parties over the RAI, but could increase government influence – unless the selection process for the RAI’s president and CEO are independent. Funding of RAI is more than sufficient.

While the privately owned Mediaset channels continue to be subject to the strong political influence of their owner, Berlusconi the increasing importance of other channels has helped balance things out.

As for the print media, newspapers and magazines are in general much more independent of government influence and able to ensure a broad spectrum of opinions.

The role of other digital and social media (e.g., Twitter and Facebook) is growing rapidly as a generation of younger politicians makes increasingly heavy use of them. But television still maintains its central role for a large part of the Italian public, which often is not reached by new media.

To what extent are the media characterized by an ownership structure that ensures a pluralism of opinions?

10
 9

Diversified ownership structures characterize both the electronic and print media market, providing a well-balanced pluralism of opinions. Effective anti-monopoly policies and impartial, open public media guarantee a pluralism of opinions.
 8
 7
 6


Diversified ownership structures prevail in the electronic and print media market. Public media compensate for deficiencies or biases in private media reporting by representing a wider range of opinions.
 5
 4
 3


Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize either the electronic or the print media market. Important opinions are represented but there are no or only weak institutional guarantees against the predominance of certain opinions.
 2
 1

Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize both the electronic and the print media market. Few companies dominate the media, most programs are biased, and there is evidence that certain opinions are not published or are marginalized.
Media Pluralism
7
The Italian media system is more balanced today than in the past. In television, the earlier duopoly between public television (RAI) and private television (controlled by Berlusconi’s Mediaset) is now less exclusive. Sky TV and La7, as well as other national television and digital broadcasters, offer alternative sources for news. Public television is now under a more politically neutral governance. As for print media, the presence of four or five significant groups ensures a satisfactory degree of pluralism. Overall one can say that all political opinions of some relevance in the political spectrum receive fair media coverage. Understandably, the largest parties obtain more space than the smaller ones.

It would be difficult to say that certain positions are not published or are marginalized, especially in the case of newspapers. One of the big issues in Italy is still the predominance of television: newspapers, radio programs and electronic media can’t counterbalance its influence. A large television company, Mediaset, continues to exercise significant influence over electoral campaigns. With the return of Berlusconi to political prominence, the influence of Mediaset may become increasingly more important.

To what extent can citizens obtain official information?

10
 9

Legal regulations guarantee free and easy access to official information, contain few, reasonable restrictions, and there are effective mechanisms of appeal and oversight enabling citizens to access information.
 8
 7
 6


Access to official information is regulated by law. Most restrictions are justified, but access is sometimes complicated by bureaucratic procedures. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms permit citizens to enforce their right of access.
 5
 4
 3


Access to official information is partially regulated by law, but complicated by bureaucratic procedures and some poorly justified restrictions. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms are often ineffective.
 2
 1

Access to official information is not regulated by law; there are many restrictions of access, bureaucratic procedures and no or ineffective mechanisms of enforcement.
Access to Government Information
7
The first freedom of information act was introduced by Law No. 241 in 1990. Its provisions were amended and made less restrictive by Law No. 15 of 2005. Disclosure can be denied only under specific circumstances (such as national security, protection of privacy), which must be explicitly identified by administrative offices. Special offices (Uffici Relazioni con il Pubblico, URP) dealing with requests for access to information have been established in all administrative offices, both national and local. Access has been made more easy and effective by the Decreto Legislativo 25 maggio 2016, n. 97, which significantly extends the range of publicly accessible documents.

Both judicial and non-judicial mechanisms of appeal exist, and are increasingly used. Among these is the Commission for Access to Public Documents (Commissione per l’Accesso ai Documenti Amministrativi) of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, which receives appeals in cases of information-disclosure denials, and can force public administrative bodies to reconsider their decisions. The commission, which is composed both of parliamentarians and technical officers, makes an annual report to parliament. Though the publication of these reports is usually delayed by at least a year. The most recent report for 2015 identified a continuing increase in and responses to citizens’ appeals. Regional administrative tribunals can judicially enforce the disclosure of documents. In spite of this regulatory and organizational progress, the propensity of public administration to provide the answers in due time is still far from being fully satisfactory either because of bureaucratic inefficiency or because of a reluctance to disclose internal matters. A recent report by an Italian NGO found that only 35% of information requests received a response within 60 days.

Citations:
http://www.funzionepubblica.gov.it/sites/funzionepubblica.gov.it/files/Decreto_legislativo_trasparenza.pdf
http://www.commissioneaccesso.it/media/54980/relazione%202015.pdf
http://www.funzionepubblica.gov.it/foia-7

Civil Rights and Political Liberties

#19

To what extent does the state respect and protect civil rights and how effectively are citizens protected by courts against infringements of their rights?

10
 9

All state institutions respect and effectively protect civil rights. Citizens are effectively protected by courts against infringements of their rights. Infringements present an extreme exception.
 8
 7
 6


The state respects and protects rights, with few infringements. Courts provide protection.
 5
 4
 3


Despite formal protection, frequent infringements of civil rights occur and court protection often proves ineffective.
 2
 1

State institutions respect civil rights only formally, and civil rights are frequently violated. Court protection is not effective.
Civil Rights
6
The legal system includes detailed constitutional provisions and a series of ordinary laws that provide an articulated protection of a broad set of rights. Strongly independent courts serve in principle to guarantee their implementation. In practice, however, inefficiencies in the judicial administration, the heavy backlog of many courts and the consequent length of judicial procedures can make the protection of civil rights (both personal and property) less effective. The current government has further promoted reforms to judicial procedures and the organization of courts. These actions are slowly reducing the backlog of judicial proceedings, particularly civil proceedings.

The legal protection of the rights of immigrants, especially if they are illegal, is far from satisfactory. Some cases of police violence are reported. Actions by the security agents of the various authorities (including the state police) sometimes seem to contradict the principles of the rule of law. Immigrants and homosexuals sometimes experience discrimination. After years of discussion and on request of supranational institutions, Italy has finally introduced a law against torture.

Citations:
http://www.camera.it/leg17/522?tema=reato_di_tortura

To what extent does the state concede and protect political liberties?

10
 9

All state institutions concede and effectively protect political liberties.
 8
 7
 6


All state institutions for the most part concede and protect political liberties. There are only few infringements.
 5
 4
 3


State institutions concede political liberties but infringements occur regularly in practice.
 2
 1

Political liberties are unsatisfactory codified and frequently violated.
Political Liberties
9
The protection of the complete array of political liberties is enshrined in the constitution and guaranteed by an independent judiciary. During the period of observation, no significant cases of infringement were attested. The right to worship is fully guaranteed to all religious groups and an increasing number of minority groups have been able to use the opportunities offered by agreements with the state to facilitate its implementation. However, some practical problems connected with the freedom of worship, like enjoying the special fiscal treatments guaranteed to religious groups or building places of worship, have not fully disappeared. These problems have been more relevant for Islamic groups, to some extent because of political fears and hostility, but also because of their more uncertain legal status.

How effectively does the state protect against different forms of discrimination?

10
 9

State institutions effectively protect against and actively prevent discrimination. Cases of discrimination are extremely rare.
 8
 7
 6


State anti-discrimination protections are moderately successful. Few cases of discrimination are observed.
 5
 4
 3


State anti-discrimination efforts show limited success. Many cases of discrimination can be observed.
 2
 1

The state does not offer effective protection against discrimination. Discrimination is widespread in the public sector and in society.
Non-discrimination
7
At the legal level, anti-discrimination norms exist and are sufficiently developed. Their implementation is sometimes not equally satisfactory. This happens in particular in the field of physical and mental abilities, of gender or for some cases of ethnic minorities (the Roma, for instance). Italy has a very inclusive model for integrating physically and mentally disabled persons. However, in some regions, the system lacks financial resources.

In the public administration there is an increasing effort by the Department for Equal Opportunities to monitor the impact of gender discrimination on a regular basis. The department’s report of 2017 indicates – with some exceptions – significant gains made in gender representation in the higher levels of state administration. The percentage of women among the top ranks of the central administration reached 46%. Levels are lower in universities and independent authorities. The situation of gender representation in the business sector is generally less satisfactory but improving. Much greater progress was achieved in political institutions, such as parliament, assemblies and cabinet.

With regard to immigrants and especially illegal immigrants, discrimination is widespread. Whereas immigrants generally enjoy access to the health care system, their rights in other areas – labor relations in particular – are not well protected.
In 2016, the parliament approved legislation allowing same-sex civil partnerships.
Italy’s constitution and the political reality grants considerable political autonomy and cultural rights to regions with non-Italian or non-mainland minorities and majorities such as Val d’Aosta, Trentino and South Tyrol, Sardinia, Sicily but also to ancient ethnic groups such as the Alberesh, which originated in Albania. Some municipalities created democratically elected assemblies to represent migrants in the local decision-making.

Citations:
http://www.pariopportunita.gov.it/notizie/20102017-quote-di-genere-nelle-societ%C3%A0-pubbliche-le-donne-aumentano-del-12-6-in-tre-anni/

Rule of Law

#21

To what extent do government and administration act on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions to provide legal certainty?

10
 9

Government and administration act predictably, on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions. Legal regulations are consistent and transparent, ensuring legal certainty.
 8
 7
 6


Government and administration rarely make unpredictable decisions. Legal regulations are consistent, but leave a large scope of discretion to the government or administration.
 5
 4
 3


Government and administration sometimes make unpredictable decisions that go beyond given legal bases or do not conform to existing legal regulations. Some legal regulations are inconsistent and contradictory.
 2
 1

Government and administration often make unpredictable decisions that lack a legal basis or ignore existing legal regulations. Legal regulations are inconsistent, full of loopholes and contradict each other.
Legal Certainty
7
The actions of the government and administration are systematically guided by detailed legal regulations. Multiple levels of oversight – from a powerful Constitutional Court to a system of local, regional and national administrative courts – exist to enforce the rule of law. Overall the government and the administration are careful to act according to the existing legal regulations and thus their actions are fundamentally predictable. However, the fact that legal regulations are plentiful, not always consistent and change frequently reduces somewhat the degree of legal certainty. The government has backed efforts to simplify and reduce the amount of legal regulation but has yet to obtain the results expected.

The complexity of regulations (which are sometimes contradictory) opens up opportunities for corruption.

The excessive burden of regulations and inefficiency of local authorities too often requires that, in order to face critical situations, exceptional powers are granted to special authorities (“commissari”) who are not properly monitored. This often results in arbitrary decisions being made.

To what extent do independent courts control whether government and administration act in conformity with the law?

10
 9

Independent courts effectively review executive action and ensure that the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 8
 7
 6


Independent courts usually manage to control whether the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 5
 4
 3


Courts are independent, but often fail to ensure legal compliance.
 2
 1

Courts are biased for or against the incumbent government and lack effective control.
Judicial Review
8
Courts play an important and decisive role in Italy’s political system. The judicial system is strongly autonomous from the government. Recruitment, nomination to different offices and careers of judges and prosecutors remain out of the control of the executive. The Superior Council of the Judiciary (Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura), a representative body elected by the members of the judiciary (and partially by the parliament), governs the system without significant influence by the government. Ordinary and administrative courts, which have heavy caseloads, are able to effectively review and sanction government actions. The main problem is rather the length of judicial procedures, which sometimes reduces the effectiveness of judicial control. The Gentiloni government has continued the policies of the previous government to increase the efficiency of the judicial system. Digitalization of procedures has been promoted and the government has introduced new measures to resolve civil proceedings faster as a way to affect proceedings related to economic activities. The 2017 report of the Minister of Justice suggests that these measures have had some success.

At the highest level the Constitutional Court ensures the conformity of laws with the national constitution. It has often rejected laws promoted by current and past governments. Access to the Constitutional Court is reserved for courts and regional authorities. Citizens can raise appeals on individual complaints only within the context of a judicial proceeding, and these appeals must be assessed by a judge as “not manifestly unfounded and irrelevant.” The head of state, who has the power to block laws approved by the parliament that are seen to conflict with the constitution, adds another pre-emptive control.

Citations:
https://www.giustizia.it/giustizia/it/mg_2_15_7.page

To what extent does the process of appointing (supreme or constitutional court) justices guarantee the independence of the judiciary?

10
 9

Justices are appointed in a cooperative appointment process with special majority requirements.
 8
 7
 6


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies with special majority requirements or in a cooperative selection process without special majority requirements.
 5
 4
 3


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies without special majority requirements.
 2
 1

All judges are appointed exclusively by a single body irrespective of other institutions.
Appointment of Justices
8
According to the present constitution, members of the Constitutional Court are appointed from three different and reciprocally independent sources: the head of state, the parliament (with special majority requirements) and the top ranks of the judiciary (through an election). Members of this institution are typically prestigious legal scholars, experienced judges or lawyers. This appointment system has globally ensured a high degree of political independence and prestige for the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court has frequently rejected laws promoted by the government and approved by the parliament. The court’s most politically relevant decisions are widely publicized and discussed by the media.

To what extent are public officeholders prevented from abusing their position for private interests?

10
 9

Legal, political and public integrity mechanisms effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 8
 7
 6


Most integrity mechanisms function effectively and provide disincentives for public officeholders willing to abuse their positions.
 5
 4
 3


Some integrity mechanisms function, but do not effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 2
 1

Public officeholders can exploit their offices for private gain as they see fit without fear of legal consequences or adverse publicity.
Corruption Prevention
6
The Italian legal system has a significant set of rules and judicial and administrative mechanisms (with ex ante and ex post controls) to prevent officeholders from abusing their position, but their effectiveness is doubtful. The Audit Court (Corte dei Conti) itself – one of the main institutions responsible for the fight against corruption – indicates in its annual reports that corruption remains one of the biggest problems of the Italian administration. The high number of cases exposed by the judiciary and the press indicates that the extent of corruption is high, and is particularly common in the areas of public works, procurement, and local building permits. It suggests also that existing instruments for the fight against corruption must be significantly reconsidered to make them less legalistic and more practically efficient. With the reforms of the Monti, Letta, Renzi and Gentiloni governments, the Anti-Corruption Authority has been significantly strengthened and its anti-corruption activity progressively increased (see 2017 ANAC Report).

In general, the ongoing reform of public administration should also contribute to reducing administrative abuses.

Citations:
https://www.anticorruzione.it/portal/rest/jcr/repository/collaboration/Digital%20Assets/anacdocs/Attivita/Pubblicazioni/RelazioniAnnuali/2017/rel.anac.2016.doc.06.07.2017_.pdf
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