The Italian Constitution and the Separation of Powers: The Choices of the Constituent Assembly from among Historical Models and the Political Context

By Giacomo D'Amico e Diletta Tega

The Founders of the Italian Republic were not interested in elaborating a comprehensive theory on the separation of powers. The principle of separation of powers in its classic, and particularly American, form was put aside. Instead, the Constituent Assembly adopted a model of institutional pluralism and coordination, with a multiplicity of powers, none of which could prevail over the others. As explained by Maurizio Fioravanti, this choice was heavily influenced by two factors. Retrospectively, the ‘tyrant complex’: after the fall of Fascism, the Founders worried that authoritarian regimes could return, and were thus particularly afraid of a strong executive branch. Prospectively, the ‘veil of ignorance’: political elections would follow shortly after the entry into force of the Constitution, their outcome was uncertain, and so was the future position of Italy in the two ideological blocks into which Europe was being divided.