Bassanini was a deputy from 1979 to 1996 and a senator from 1996 to 2006. He served as the minister of public administration and regional affairs from 1996 to 2001 in the cabinets led by firstly Romano Prodi, then by Massimo D'Alema and lastly by Giuliano Amato . He was also president of "Astrid", a think-tank specialising in the study of institutional and administrative reform. As a member of the administrative council of the ENA, in 2007 he was called by Nicolas Sarkozy to take part in the Commission pour la libération de la croissance française, presided over by Jacques Attali and designed to reform France's administration. He is a member of Italy-USA Foundation. He also served as the professor of constitutional law at the First University of Rome and is now chairman of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.