Berlusconi III Cabinet
|Third Berlusconi cabinet|
58th cabinet of Italy
|Date formed||23 April 2005|
|Date dissolved||17 May 2006
|People and organisations|
|Head of government||Silvio Berlusconi|
|Head of state||Carlo Azeglio Ciampi|
|Total number of ministers||24|
|Member party||Forza Italia (FI)
National Alliance (AN)
Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC)
Italian Republican Party (PRI)
New Italian Socialist Party (NPSI)
|Outgoing election||2006 election|
|Legislature term(s)||31 May 2001 - 28 April 2006 (XIV)|
|Incoming formation||Berlusconi III Cabinet formation, 2005|
|Outgoing formation||Prodi II Cabinet formation, 2006|
|Predecessor||Berlusconi II Cabinet|
|Successor||Prodi II Cabinet|
The Berlusconi III Cabinet was the cabinet of the government of Italy from 23 April 2005 to 17 May 2006. It was the 58th cabinet of the Italian Republic, and the second cabinet of the XIV Legislature.
House of Freedoms did not do as well in the 2003 local elections as it did in the 2001 national elections. In common with many other European governing groups, in the 2004 elections of the European Parliament, gaining 43.37% support. Forza Italia's support was also reduced from 29.5% to 21.0% (in the 1999 European elections Forza Italia had 25.2%). As an outcome of these results the other coalition parties, whose electoral results were more satisfactory, asked Berlusconi and Forza Italia for greater influence in the government's political line.
In the 2005 regional elections (3-4 April 2005), the centre-left gubernatorial candidates won in 12 out of 14 regions where control of local governments and governorships was at stake. Berlusconi's coalition kept only two of the regional bodies (Lombardy and Veneto) up for re-election. Three parties, Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, National Alliance and New Italian Socialist Party, threatened to withdraw from the Berlusconi government. The Italian Premier, after some hesitation, then presented to the President of the Republic a request for the dissolution of his government on 20 April 2005. On 23 April he formed a new government with the same allies, reshuffling ministers and amending the government programme. A key point required by the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (and to a lesser extent by National Alliance) for their continued support was that the strong focus on tax reduction central to the government's ambitions be changed.
New electoral law
During this second cabinet was also approved a new electoral law. A white paper for a proportional-only electoral system was presented to the Chamber of Deputies on September 13, 2005, only seven months before the 2006 general election. This reform, strongly backed by the centre-right Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, proposed a 4% election threshold before a party gained any seats, and a majority bonus of (at least) 340 seats for the winning coalition, the total votes for each coalition being the sum of the votes of those coalition parties which had won at least 4% of the national votes. The new proposal was approved by parliament.
An electoral survey published on September 15, 2005 by the national left newspaper La Repubblica claimed that, with the initial proposal of electoral reform become law, the House of Freedoms would win the next elections 340-290, even if they won only 45% of votes and the opposition coalition The Union won 50%, because the Union also includes several small parties with less than 4% of national votes. This could have been avoided if the small opposition parties ran on a common ticket. Aim of this bill of reform was to reduce the number of parties, and particularly the moderate Left would have taken advantage in respect to the smaller radical left parties.
The Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, commenting on the proposal, asked for the abolition of the 4% cut-off clause, whereas the National Alliance did not show any favour to this attempt of reform, with its leader Gianfranco Fini claiming to want first to vote for the constitutional reform, and then for the new voting system, on condition that the 4% cut-off were not repealed.
This proposal of law was strongly questioned by the opposition coalition, who defined it an "attempted coup". Opposition leader Romano Prodi said it was "totally unacceptable". Several newspapers politically oriented to the left nicknamed the electoral system proposal by the House of Freedoms as "Truffarellum", after "truffa" (Italian for "fraud") and the "Mattarellum", (from Sergio Mattarella), the most common name for the previous Italian electoral law (there is a recent custom to nickname new electoral systems by a somewhat Latinised version of the name of the lawmaker; another one is the system used in regional elections, the so-called "Tatarellum" from Pinuccio Tatarella).
Notably, some smaller opposition parties, such as Communist Refoundation Party and UDEUR, support a proportional electoral law; nevertheless, they declared they were against an electoral reform by this parliament, because the current law would be changed too close to the 2006 general election.
The Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had previously been a strong supporter of the plurality-based electoral law; in 1995, talking about his coalition, he even defined the plurality principle as "our religion".
A modified version of the first proposal, this time with a 2% threshold for entering Parliament and without vote of preference for candidates, but still without the support of the opposition, was presented to the Chamber of Deputies. The voting count started on October 11; the lower house of Italian parliament then approved the electoral reform on October 14. The new electoral was then eventually approved on December 16, 2005, and countersigned by President Ciampi on December 23, 2005.
Roberto Calderoli, the main author of this electoral reform, defined this law "a rascality" (using the mildly vulgar term "porcata").
Ironically, the new electoral law allowed Romano Prodi to count on a large majority in the Chamber and to obtain majority also in the Senate, where The House of Freedoms actually had more votes (49.88% vs. 49.18% of the Union).
|Portfolio||Minister||Took office||Left office||Party|
|Prime Minister||Silvio Berlusconi||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs||Gianfranco Fini||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||National Alliance|
|Minister of the Interior||Giuseppe Pisanu||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister of Economy and Finances||Domenico Siniscalco||23 April 2005||22 September 2005||Independent|
|Giulio Tremonti||22 September 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister of Defense||Antonio Martino||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister of Justice||Roberto Castelli||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Lega Nord|
|Minister of Productive Activities||Claudio Scajola||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies||Gianni Alemanno||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||National Alliance|
|Minister of Education, University and Research||Letizia Moratti||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister of Labour and Social Affairs||Roberto Maroni||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Lega Nord|
|Minister for Health||Francesco Storace||10 March 2006||17 May 2006||National Alliance|
|Minister of Infrastructures and Transports||Pietro Lunardi||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea||Altero Matteoli||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||National Alliance|
|Minister of Cultural Heritage||Rocco Buttiglione||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||UDC|
|Minister of Communications||Mario Landolfi||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||National Alliance|
Ministers without portfolio
|Portfolio||Minister||Took office||Left office||Party|
|Minister European Affairs||Giorgio La Malfa||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Republican Party|
|Minister of Reforms and Revolutions||Roberto Calderoli||23 April 2005||18 February 2006||Lega Nord|
|Minister of Public Administration and Innovations||Mario Baccini||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||UDC|
|Minister of Southern Italy||Gianfranco Miccichè||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister for Regional Affairs||Enrico La Loggia||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister for Platform Accomplishment||Stefano Caldoro||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||NPSI|
|Minister of Equal Opportunities||Stefania Prestigiacomo||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||Forza Italia|
|Minister of Parliament||Carlo Giovanardi||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||UDC|
|Minister of Italians in the World||Mirko Tremaglia||23 April 2005||17 May 2006||National Alliance|
- Pole Agrees to Go Back to Proportional Vote, Corriere della Sera
- (Italian) Dalla vittoria alla sconfitta la riforma "scippa" l'Unione, La Repubblica
- , Reuters
- (Italian) Legge elettorale, accordo nella Cdl Unione insorge: "Blocchiamo le Camere", La Repubblica
- (Italian) Nessun blitz prima delle elezioni, DS Milano
- Italy deputies back voting reform, BBC News
- (Italian) Ciampi ha firmato la legge elettorale, Corriere della Sera