Direct Democracy and the Prohibition of the Binding Mandate

La prossima settimana al “World Congress of Constitutional Law 2014 – Constitutional Challenges: Global and Local” che si terrà ad Oslo, tra il 16 e il 20 giugno 2014 (qui), durante i lavori del Workshop n. 16 “Direct Democracy” (qui)  si discuterà, insieme a quelli di altri colleghi provenienti da tutto il mondo, il mio paper “Direct Democracy and the Prohibition of the Binding Mandate: The Italian Debate” (qui). Un tema piuttosto attuale, visti gli ultimi sviluppi del dibattito parlamentare, nazionale ed europeo.

Di seguito l’abstract: One of the most controversial topics of the current political debate in Italy is about the prohibition of the binding mandate previewed by art. 67 of the Italian Constitution. In a context of collective distrust in politics and in the administration of public affairs, a new party, the Movimento Cinque Stelle, (hereinafter, M5S), has exploded collecting 25% of votes. One of the points of the M5S’ program was the claim that its MPs are only spokepersons of the voters, without any autonomy from them. One of the campaign promises was that they would submitted bills to be deposited in Parliament to public judgment through the use of an online platform. To participate in these debates, Italian citizens have to register to the online platform with a scanned copy of their ID document. However, this online platform is not neutral, because it belongs to Beppe Grillo’s blog. Beppe Grillo is the founder and the political leader of M5S, but he did not run in the political campaign. This circumstance presents problems of net neutrality, privacy and use of participants’ personal data. Beppe Grillo’s staff declared that the platform has around 90,000 certified subscribers, whilst the M5S’ electors number almost 9 million. This is a huge element of controversy: can a minority be involved in the MPs’ commitment, when each MP represents the whole Nation? Furthermore, political debate among M5S’ supporters, critics, and MPs has been developed on social network such as Facebook and Twitter, especially on political representatives’ personal pages. This phenomenon is connected with the advent of the Internet in political participation and the purpose of this paper is to understand how to balance the contribution of the direct participation of the electorate with the prohibition of binding parliamentary mandate present in the Italian Constitution.