Before and After the Constituent Assembly: the Weak Government

By Guido Melis

The word «Government», understood as institution, is not used in the Statuto Albertino. It began to appear in scholarly debate at the end of the 1800s, influenced by other European models. The First World War was the era of «leading governments». The reform magnified the Presidency of the Council, with the Parliament becoming relegated to the sidelines. During the years before the Constituent Assembly, the topic re-emerged, but only in a marginal way. In 1944, and again in 1945, Vezio Crisafulli wrote that the pre-Constitution regime suffered from a defect in legitimation, because the Government ruled without a Parliament. Giorgio Amendola believed that such legitimation could be found in the C.L.N. However, the Constituent Assembly left this idea aside. Calamandrei considered the introduction of a strong government, which would be balanced by local autonomies. Among the Socialists, Massimo Severo Giannini was the only one to also consider the government’s apparatus, that is the public administration. The Catholics mostly ignored the question of the government. Within the Constituent Assembly, two concerns prevailed: first, to avoid government instability, and at the same time, to avoid the risk of a tyrannical government from developing.