Greater Surbiton

The perfect is the enemy of the good

An appeal to the British intellectual community to show support for a national referendum in Italy against ad personam legislation

berlusconiLast July the Italian government succeeded in passing a law granting the President, leaders of the upper and lower chambers, and Prime Minister (the four highest offices of the state) immunity from investigation whilst in office.

The ongoing investigations into current Prime Minister Signor Berlusconi’s affairs, which include allegations of corruption, bribery and attempts to pervert the course of justice, question the motives behind such legislation. It is the ad personam nature of these laws which makes them unacceptable. Not only is the idea of equality before the law traduced, but a clear message is sent that the position of lawmaker may be abused for personal gain.

The most fundamental principle of the rule of law is that all are treated equally under it. If such ad personam laws were passed today by a soi-disant democratically elected leader of an Eastern European or African state, it is likely that we would be swift in our condemnation of the act, and there would likely follow calls for action. European member states should be an example to the international community in setting the principle that all in society are equal before the law. Italy should be no exception.

Under Italian law, legislation passed by Parliament may be challenged by referendum, provided that 500 000 signatures calling for such action are collected within a period of 90 days. Despite little or no coverage in the Italian media, 200 000 signatures were collected in a single day, following the formation by some Italian politicians and intellectuals (including Nobel laureate Dario Fo) of a referendum committee. The support of the wider intellectual community is crucial in getting this issue into the Italian media and highlighting the need for a public referendum on this question.

The above message is from the website of Energie in fuga.

Members of the British academic community who would like to sign the appeal should click here.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - Posted by | Italy

1 Comment

  1. […] contempt towards democratic principles is also clearly patent in the aproval of laws granting the President, leaders of the upper and lower chambers, and Prime Minis…, just in time to avoid investigations to his own […]

    Pingback by Italy sliding into fascism. « CAFÉ TURCO | Saturday, 28 February 2009

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