Citizens’ Legislative Initiative in Italy – Legal Regulation and Practice
The Italian constitution of 1947 regulates two forms of direct democracy: people’s initiative and a referendum. According to its Art. 71 sec. 2, at least fifty thousand voters have the right to introduce legislation, a draft must be formulated in articles. Details of the procedure are laid down in Law 352/1970 “Norme sui referendum previsti in Costituzione e sull’iniziativa legislativa del popolo”. The signature collection procedure is complicated and requires the collection of many declarations and confirmations. A review of citizens’ bills submitted to the chambers of the Italian Parliament from 1996 to today shows that the number of these bills varies between twenty and thirty some in a term (several per year). Until 2020, there was no discernible trend in this respect, neither upward nor downward. A very small proportion of the citizens’ bills submitted becomes law. Therefore, it should be assessed that the right to submit citizenship bills is also treated – or perhaps even primarily – as a political tool, an instrument used to initiate discussions on socially and politically important topics.