Politics of Sicily

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Sicily

The Politics of Sicily, Italy takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Sicilian Regional Assembly. Rosario Crocetta is the current President since 2012.

Although the most ancient party in Sicily was the Sicilian Socialist Party, founded in 1893 by Fasci Siciliani leaders, after World War II Sicily became a stronghold of the Christian Democracy, in opposition to the Italian Communist Party and in coalition with the local Social Christian Sicilian Union (USCS). After the dissolution of these parties, the region was governed always by center-right coalition including Silvio Berlusconi's party Forza Italia and the Christian-conservative party Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, from which was President Salvatore Cuffaro. Since then, Union of Christian and Centre Democrats is always in the government of the Region: at the beginning with the center-right (1996-2008), then with the President Raffaele Lombardo's Movement for the Autonomies (2008-2012), and finally with the center-left (since 2012).[1]

Traditionally, Sicily gives centre-right results during election. The Communists and their successors (the Democratic Party of the Left, the Democrats of the Left and the present-day Democratic Party) have never won in the region until 2012. Sicily is now governed by a center-left coalition between Democratic Party (PD) and the center-party Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UdC).

Legislative Branch[edit]

The Sicilian Regional Assembly is composed of 90 members (or deputies). 80 deputies are elected in provincial constituencies by proportional representation using the largest remainder method with a Droop quota and open lists, while 10 councillors (elected in a general ticket) come from a "regional list", including the President-elect. One seat is reserved for the candidate who comes second.

The Assembly is elected for a five-year term, but, if the President suffers a vote of no confidence, resigns or dies, under the simul stabunt, simul cadent clause introduced in 2001 (literally they will stand together or they will fall together), also the Assembly is dissolved and a snap election is called

Executive branch[edit]

Main article: President of Sicily

The Regional Cabinet (Giunta Regionale) is presided by the President of the Region (Presidente della Regione), who is elected for a five-year term, and is currently composed by 11 members: the President and 10 regional assessors (Assessori, literally "aldermen"), including a Vice President (Vice Presidente).

Originally appointed by the Sicilian Regional Assembly, since 2001 de jure, he is elected by popular vote every five years under universal suffrage: the candidate who receives a plurality of votes, is elected.

His office is connected to the Regional Assembly (ARS), which is elected contextually: one fifth of the assembly seats are generally reserved to his supporters, which are wholesale elected concurrently with the President. The Assembly and the President are linked by an alleged relationship of confidence: if the President resigns or he is dismissed by the Assembly, a snap election is called for both the legislative and the executive offices, because in no case the two bodies can be chosen separately. The popular election of the President and the relationship of confidence between him and the legislature, allow to identify the Sicilian model of government as a particular form of semi-presidential system.

The President of Sicily promulgates regional laws and regulations. He can receive special administrative functions by the national government. The President is one of the 90 members of the Regional Assembly and, in this capacity, he can propose new laws. He appoints and dismiss the Regional Cabinet (called Giunta Regionale in Italian). The Cabinet is composed by regional assessors (assessori, literally "aldermen"[2]) who can be members of the Council at the same time. Assessors should not be confused with the ministers: according to Italian administrative law, assessors only receive delegations from the President to rule a bureau or an agency, the Region being a single legal person, not divided in ministries. One assessor can be appointed Vice President. The President can also appoint four under-secretaries (sottosegretari) to help the President in his functions.

The Regional Cabinet prepares the budget, appoints the boards of public regional agencies and companies, manages assets, develops projects of governance, and resorts to the Constitutional Court of Italy if it thinks that a national law may violate regional powers. The President and the Cabinet are two different authorities of the Region: in matters within its competence, the Cabinet has the power to vote to give its approval.

List of Presidents[edit]

The current President of Sicily is Rosario Crocetta, who is serving for his first term after winning the 2012 regional election.

Local government[edit]

Provinces[edit]

Sicily was divided in nine provinces, which were a traditional form of local administration in the region. Socialist and Christian-democratic ideas had an early diffusion in quite all the provinces around World War I. After the Fascist parenthesis, left-wing parties found their strongholds in central agricultural provinces, especially in the Province of Enna, but they didn't succeeded in local elections, while Christian Democracy obtained high scores in others parts of the Region.

On 19 March 2013 the Sicilian Regional Assembly decided to turn them into Free Associations of Municipalities (Liberi consorzi tra comuni). Finally, on 30 July 2015 the Regional Assembly approved a law which put into force the Free Associations of Municipalities, regulating their functions and abolishing definitively the nine historical provinces. The same law created the new Metropolitan Cities of Palermo, Messina and Catania.[3]

Province Inhabitants established current status[4]
Palermo 1,250,296 1860 Metropolitan City
Catania 1,167,006 1860 Metropolitan City
Messina 651,921 1860 Metropolitan City
Agrigento 453,416 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Trapani 436,459 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Syracuse 404,271 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Ragusa 320,003 1927 Free Association of Municipalities
Caltanissetta 270,102 1927 Free Association of Municipalities
Enna 171,921 1927 Free Association of Municipalities

Municipalities[edit]

Sicily is also divided in 390 comuni (municipalities), which have even more history, having been established in the Middle Ages when they were the main places of government. 15 comuni have more than 50,000 inhabitants.

Municipality Inhabitants Mayor Party Election
Palermo 654,121 Leoluca Orlando Independent 2012
Catania 291,274 Enzo Bianco PD 2013
Messina 241,310 Renato Accorinti Independent 2013
Syracuse 123,376 Giancarlo Garrozzo PD 2013
Marsala 82,933 Alberto Di Girolamo PD 2015
Gela 77,335 Domenico Messinese M5S 2015
Ragusa 73,030 Federico Piccitto M5S 2013
Trapani 69,182 Vito Damiano FI 2012
Caltanissetta 63,290 Giovanni Ruvolo PD 2014
Vittoria 63,002 Giuseppe Nicosia PD 2011
Agrigento 59,645 Calogero Firreto UDC 2015

Parties and elections[edit]

Latest regional election[edit]

The latest regional election, for the renewal of the Regional Assembly and the election of the President of Sicily, was held on 28 October 2012. Rosario Crocetta (Democratic Party), who had the support of the Union of the Centre, won over Nello Musumeci (The Right), who led a centre-right coalition including The People of Freedom. Crocetta won just 30.5% of the vote in a highly fragmented political landscape and the centre-left coalition obtained 39 regional deputies, 6 short of majority.

Candidates Regional lists Provincial lists Total
votes % seats Parties votes % seats group
Rosario Crocetta 617,073 30.47 9 Democratic Party 257,274 13.42 14 39
Union of the Centre 207,827 10.84 11
The Megaphone – Crocetta List (incl. ApI and PSI)[5][6] 118,346 6.17 5
Democratic Union for Consumers 100 0.00 0
Nello Musumeci 521,022 25.73 1 The People of Freedom 247,351 12.91 12 21
Popular Construction 112,169 5.85 4
Musumeci List (incl. The Right)[7] 107,397 5.60 4
Alliance of the Centre 5,017 0.26 0
Giancarlo Cancelleri 368,006 18.17 Five Star Movement 285,202 14.88 15 15
Gianfranco Micciché 312,112 15.41 Party of the Sicilians 182,737 9.53 10 15
Great South 115,444 6.02 5
Future and Freedom 83,891 4.37 0
Thought Action Party 959 0.05 0
Giovanna Marano 122,633 6.10 Italy of Values 67,738 3.53 0
Left Ecology FreedomFdSGreens 58,753 3.06 0
Mariano Ferro 31,390 1.55 The People of Pitchforks 23,965 1.20 0
Cateno De Luca 25,058 1.23 Sicilian Revolution 23,966 1.20 0
Gaspare Sturzo 19,248 0.95 Sturzo President 14,929 0.77 0
Giacomo Di Leo 4,495 0.22 Workers' Communist Party 2,031 0.10 0
Lucia Pinsone 3,659 0.18 Voluntaries for Italy 2,278 0.11 0
Total candidates 2,024,696 100.00 10 Total parties 1,915,830 100.00 80 90

Source: Sicily Region

References[edit]

External links[edit]