Prime Minister of Italy
|President of the Council of Ministers of Italy
Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana
Flag of the President of the Council of Ministers
|Appointer||President of the Republic|
|Inaugural holder||Camillo Benso di Cavour|
|Formation||17 March 1861|
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
The Prime Minister of Italy, officially the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic (Italian: Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri) is the head of government of the Italian Republic.
While the office is similar to those in most other parliamentary systems, the Italian prime minister has less authority than some of his counterparts. The prime minister is not authorized to request the dissolution of the Parliament of Italy or to dismiss ministers, and must receive a vote of approval from the Council of Ministers—which holds effective executive power—to execute most political activities.
The office was established by Articles 92 through to 96 of the current Constitution of Italy. The prime minister is appointed by the President of the Republic after each general election. Commonly referred to in Italy as premier, the right title of the office holder is Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri, or just Presidente del Consiglio. The formal Italian order of precedence lists the office as being ceremonially the fourth most important Italian state office.
The office was first established in 1848 in Italy's predecessor state, the Kingdom of Sardinia—although it was not mentioned in the constitution, the Albertine Statute. The candidate for office was appointed by the king, and presided over a very unstable political system. In its first 60 years of existence (1861-1921), Italy changed its prime minister 37 times. Regarding this situation, the first goal of Benito Mussolini, appointed in 1922, was to abolish the Parliament's ability to put him to a vote of no confidence, thus basing his power on the will of the king and the National Fascist Party alone. With the proclamation of the Italian Republic in 1946, the office received constitutional recognition and 26 men assumed the office in 67 years.
In addition to powers inherent in being a member of the cabinet, the prime minister holds specific powers, most notably being able to nominate a list of cabinet ministers to be appointed by the President of the Republic and the countersigning of all legislative instruments having the force of law that are signed by the President of the Republic.
Article 95 of the Italian constitution provides that "the prime minister directs and coordinates the activity of the ministers". This power has been used to a quite variable extent in the history of the Italian state, as it is strongly influenced by the political strength of individual ministers and thus by the parties they represent.
Often the prime minister's activity consists more in mediating between the various parties in the majority coalition, rather than directing the activity of the Council of Ministers. The prime minister's supervisory power is further limited by the lack of any formal authority to fire ministers, although a cabinet reshuffle (rimpasto), or sometimes even an 'individual vote of no confidence' on the part of Parliament, may in practice provide a surrogate measure.
See also 
- List of Prime Ministers of Italy
- List of Presidents of the Italian Republic
- Italian Minister of the Interior
- Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Italian Minister of Defense
- Italian Minister of Justice
- Italian Minister of Public Instruction
- Italian Minister of Health
- Italian Minister of Economy and Finance
- Italian Minister of Public Works
- Italian Minister of Transports
- Italian Minister of Economic Development
- Politics of Italy
- Lists of incumbents
- This article was translated from the equivalent article in Italian Wikipedia, retrieved 16 April 2006.
- "Interoffice memorandum: Change of name of country". United Nations Secretariat. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- Website of the Prime Minister of Italy
- List of Italian Prime Ministers, with information on length of term and party membership