Head of state: who he is, what he does, what are his powers and functions. Does the President of the Republic or the President of the Council of Ministers have more power?
Not everyone wanted to know explain to the children what the President of the Republic is doing. However, it is a task that can only be performed by those who have first understood what the powers of the head of state are, such as his functions, powers, obligations. And this can be deduced from our constitution, one of the most successful works in Italian literature. It stands out for its clarity, simplicity, grandeur and grandeur in the design.
Below we will try the arduous task of addressing a non-technical audience who wants to get to the “point” of the matter, without many technical details, in order to finally understand what the President of the Republic is doing, the children explained. But let’s continue in order.
How does the Italian state work?
To understand what the President of the Republic does we must first understand how our state works. Italy is based on a democratic principle: threefold division of power. The three basic powers of the state are entrusted to three different bodies:
- that power to write laws is in the hands of Parliament (ie the Chamber of Deputies and Senators);
- that power to define the policy of the country is in the hands of Government (i.e. al Cabinet and al prime minister);
- that power to judge And punish the citizens for violations of the law it is in the hands of Judiciary.
None of these bodies can escape the field of their own forces and invade others.
Who is the President of the Republic?
Someone calls it “Head of StateBut in reality, there are no heads of state in Italy. The powers of the state are in fact fragmented between the various constitutional bodies such as the parliament, the judiciary, the Council of Ministers, the President of the Council of Ministers, the President of the Republic. Each of these exercises some of the powers of the state without triumphing over the other bodies. Only in this way – reasoned our constituent fathers – can we guarantee the balance of democracy and prevent forms of concentration of power that could lead to dictatorship.
But who then is the President of the Republic? It is certainly not one political representative body as some believe. In fact, he has the fate of the executive and the legislature in his hands, as he can, on the one hand, elect the President of the Council of Ministers and, on the other hand, dissolve the chambers in advance. These are certainly not powers that can be exercised in a discretionary manner without any kind of control: in fact, they are subject to specific conditions set out in the Constitution, which we will discuss briefly.
The President of the Republic certainly does not exercise any of the three typical powers of the state: he does not formulate the laws, he does not administer the state, he does not judge the citizens. But its functions span in these three sectors in different ways as a “guarantor”. Here, if we were to summarize in a single word what the President of the Republic is doing, we could say precisely that he is Guarantor of the Constitution: that is, it controls the work of the three powers of the state (legislative, executive, and judicial) to verify that everything “works” as stated by the Constitution itself.
Does the President of the Republic or the Prime Minister have more power?
In the light of what we have just said, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether the President of the Republic or the President of the Council have several powers, as there is a horizontal and not a vertical division of powers between them. Neither of them is subordinate to the other.
On the one hand, the President of the Republic elects the Prime Minister and appoints the ministers according to his indication. But on the other hand, it is the Prime Minister who determines the active policy of the country, also with acts that have the force of law such as decrees of law and decrees of law.
Without forgetting that the life of the government depends on the President of the Republic: if the head of state actually believes that Parliament is no longer able to function due to the impossibility of reaching the necessary majority to approve the laws, he can dissolve the Houses. The fate of the government also depends on this action: in fact, if the chambers are dissolved, the government will also lapse.
What does the President of the Republic do
We now arrive at functions of the President of the Republic. He has both legislative, judicial and executive functions. Let’s see what these forces are.
Legislative powers of the President of the Republic
President of the Republic:
- prints the election and determines the first meeting of the two chambers (deputies and senators);
- it can call the two chambers in an extraordinary way;
- ratifies international treaties;
- it can dissolve the chambers;
- can send messages to the chambers;
- authorizes the submission of government proposals;
- promulgate the laws or, if he does not find them in accordance with the Constitution, send them back to the chambers;
- dissolves the municipal, provincial and regional councils;
- calls the referendum.
Jurisdiction of the President of the Republic
President of the Republic:
- is chairman of the CSM, that is, the Supreme Council of the Judiciary;
- appoints 5 judges to the Constitutional Court;
- he can give pardons and commute fines.
Executive powers of the President
President of the Republic:
- appoints the chairman of the Council of Ministers and, on a proposal from the latter, the various ministers;
- appoints senior officials;
- appoints the Secretaries of State;
- declares a state of war;
- leads the armed forces and is chairman of the Supreme Defense Council;
- grants Italian citizenship;
- awards honors;
- accredits and receives diplomatic representatives from other states.
Dissolution of the chambers
One of the most important powers of the President of the Republic is certainly the ability to dissolve the chambers. However, this is subject to three conditions:
- the chairmen of the two Chambers expressing a non-binding opinion shall be consulted;
- that the President is not in the last six months of his term of office;
- that the deed be co-signed by the Prime Minister.
Dissolution of the departments can only take place in case of:
- recognition ofimpossible to form a stable majority able to maintain confidence in the government;
- loss of representativeness of parliament highlighted by particularly significant political events such as the result of a referendum or other events requiring verification of the referendum.
Promoting the laws
The President of the Republic is called upon to participate in the legislative process only when a provision is already perfect, for the sole purpose of ascribing to the now valid governmental provisions.
If the President of the Republic finds that there are deficiencies in the law or a conflict with the Constitution, he may refer this action to the Chambers and request a new resolution or a revision of the law. It is the so-called suspensive veto. That postponement must be accompanied by a reasoned announcement stating the reasons why the head of state considers the law not to have been promulgated.
This type of message has considerable institutional and political weight, as it manifests the displeasure of the guardian of the Constitution in the face of a legislative act which, in his opinion, presents a suspicion of unconstitutionality. But if the houses approve the law again, the president of the republic will have to promulgate it.