Constituent Assembly of Italy

The Italian Constituent Assembly (Italian: Assemblea Costituente della Repubblica Italiana) was a parliamentary chamber which existed in Italy from 25 June 1946 until 31 January 1948. It was tasked with writing a constitution for the Italian Republic, which had replaced the Kingdom of Italy after the 1946 Italian institutional referendum.

Constituent Assembly

Assemblea Costituente
Type
Type
History
EstablishedJune 25, 1946 (1946-06-25)
DisbandedJanuary 31, 1948 (1948-01-31)
Preceded byParliament of the Kingdom of Italy
Succeeded byParliament of the Italian Republic
Leadership
President of the Assembly
Structure
Seats556
Italian Parliament, 1946.svg
Political groups
  •   DC: 207
  •   PSI: 115
  •   PCI: 104
  •   UDN: 41
  •   UQ: 30
  •   PRI: 23
  •   BNL: 16
  •   PdA: 9
  •   MIS: 4
  •   Others: 8
Elections
Proportional representation
Last election
2 June 1946
Meeting place
Palazzo Montecitorio, Rome

The assembly was formed by the representatives of all the anti-fascist forces that contributed to the defeat of Nazi and Fascist forces during the Italian Civil War.[1]

HistoryEdit

On 2 June 1946 the first free election since 1924, was held in Italy. The vote was allowed to all over 21, females being allowed to vote for the first time. Voters received both a ballot for the choice between Republic or Monarchy, and one for the election of the deputies of the new Constituent Assembly; the latter would have the task to write a new constitutional chart, as established by a decree of 16 March 1946.

The referendum was won by a move to a Republic with some 12.7 million votes, against 10.7 million favouring to continue being a monarchy. Umberto II, the last king of the country, left Italy on 13 June 1946. On 18 June 1946 the Corte di Cassazione proclaimed officially the victory of the Republic.

The election of the Constituent Assembly was based on a proportional system, based on 32 electoral regions. 573 deputies were to be elected, although the elections could not be held in South Tyrol, Trieste, Gorizia, Pola, Fiume and Zara, which were then under Allied or Yugoslav military control. Thus, 556 deputies were elected.

On 25 June 1946 the assembly was established, with Giuseppe Saragat (future president of the Republic) as president. Its first act, on 28 June, was the election of Enrico De Nicola as the Italian Republic's provisional president. On 504 voters, De Nicola (a member of the Italian Liberal Party) obtained 396 votes, followed by Cipriano Facchinetti (Italian Republican Party) with 40, Ottavia Penna Buscemi (Common Man's Front) with 32, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando (left) with 12, Carlo Sforza (PRI) with 2, Alcide De Gasperi and Alfredo Proja (both from Christian Democracy, or DC) with 2. Aside from the creation of the new constitution, the assembly was entrusted the approval of governments and of their budgets, and the ratification of the international treaties. The legislative function was formally assigned to the government, but, in virtue of the pre-Fascist tradition, the latter often assigned the emission of laws to the assembly.

The assembly elected among its member a Constitutional Commission of 75 deputies, with the task to write down the constitution's general layout. The Commission was further divided into three sub-commissions:

A more restricted committee (informally known as "Committee of the Eighteen") had the task to write the constitution in accordance with the work of the three sub-commissions. The Constitutional Commission ended its work on 12 January 1947 and on 4 March the assembly started its debate about the text. The final text of the Constitution of Italy was approved on 22 December 1947.

The Assembly was dissolved on 31 January 1948, replaced by the new Italian Parliament.

PresidentsEdit

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Tenure
(Years and days)
Political Party Legislature
  Giuseppe Saragat
(1898–1988)
25 June 1946 6 February 1947 226 days Italian Socialist Party Constituent Assembly
(1946)
  Umberto Terracini
(1895–1983)
8 February 1947 31 January 1948 357 days Italian Communist Party

Last living membersEdit

After the death of Emilio Colombo on 24 June 2013 at the age of 93, there are no surviving members of the Constituent Assembly.

Teresa Mattei, the last surviving female member of the Constituent Assembly, died on 12 March 2013 at the age of 92.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McGaw Smyth, Howard (September 1948). "Italy: From Fascism to the Republic (1943-1946)". The Western Political Quarterly. 1 (3): 205. doi:10.2307/442274.