Semestre bianco

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The semestre bianco (in English, "white semester") is an Italian legislative term referring to the last six months of the President of Italy's seven-year term of office. According to Article 88 of the Italian Constitution, the President cannot dissolve the Italian Parliament and call a new election during the last six months of his term.[1] The prohibition was initially absolute. However, a constitutional amendment was passed in November 1991 creating an exception in cases where the normal five-year term of the parliament ends during the last six months of the President's term.[2][3] The 1991 amendment came about when Francesco Cossiga's term as President was due to expire on 3 July 1992, only one day after the natural expiration of the 10th Italian Legislature (2 July 1992), thus leaving no one constitutionally empowered to call the next election.[4]

The 2013 Italian general election on 24-25 February resulted in a hung parliament. By early April 2013, a government had still not been formed. President Giorgio Napolitano was by that time in the semestre bianco of his term and would have been unable to call a new election if it were needed to resolve the deadlock.[5][6] However, on 20 April 2013, he agreed to run in the Italian presidential election, and was elected to an unprecedented second term, thus renewing his mandate to call a new election if necessary.[7][8]


  1. ^ Koff, Stephen P. (2002). Italy: From the 1st to the 2nd Republic, p. 221. Routledge.
  2. ^ Ferrari, Giuseppe Franco (2008). Introduction to Italian Public Law, p. 161. Giuffrè Editore
  3. ^ Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana, Article 88 and Note 11. Retrieved 22 April 2013 (in Italian).
  4. ^ La Repubblica (24 May 1991). "Il semestre bianco". Retrieved 22 April 2013 (in Italian).
  5. ^ Cinelli, Francesca (21 April 2013). "Italy center-left leader Bersani quits after vote debacle". Reuters. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  6. ^ Scarpetta, Vincenzo (26 February 2013). "Italian elections have triggered fresh uncertainty in the eurozone. What happens next?". Il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  7. ^ L'Arena (22 April 2013). "Si prepara il Governo del presidente e potrebbero entrare due veronesi". Retrieved 22 April 2013 (in Italian).
  8. ^ BBC News (20 April 2013). "Italy crisis: President Giorgio Napolitano re-elected". Retrieved 22 April 2013.