Liliana Segre's alarm on the premiership, “I cannot and do not want to remain silent”


By John

«Not everything can be sacrificed in the name of the slogan “You choose the head of government! Even the prehistoric tribes had a leader.” With these words Senator for life Liliana Segre concluded her speech in the Senate during the general discussion on the premiershipwith an extremely critical speech on the Casellati bill, in which he identified “alarming aspects” on which – he said – “I cannot and will not remain silent».

Words that have bounced around news sites and social media. And they could have considerable weight in a future referendum. AND Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed that the center-right wants to rush towards this outcome of the polls, who however underlined that it would not concern her but “the future”. The hall of Palazzo Madama was busy on the second day dedicated to the general discussion which could end as early as Wednesday, with the vast majority of interventions by opposition senators. These have all confirmed their opposition to direct elections and above all to the mechanism of Parliament being elected “by dragging” the candidate for prime minister, moreover without guarantees of a run-off.

But it was the speech of the senator for life, appointed by President Sergio Mattarella, that characterized the day for the clarity of the arguments against the bill: first of all on the method followed by the majority (“a test of strength”) and secondly on the merits (“a reckless experiment”). According to Segre, «the text wanted by the centre-right, with the election of the Parliament following the lead of the candidate for Prime Minister, produces an abnormal damage to the representativeness of the Parliament, where it is claimed to create a majority at any cost at the service of the President-elect, through majoritarian devices such as to distort the free choices of the electorate beyond all reasonableness”.

Even the Constitutional Court, Segre warned, rejected the Porcellum and the Italicum twice. Furthermore, Segre insisted, the reform produces “a drastic downgrading to the detriment of the President of the Republic”; the latter «is not only deprived of some fundamental prerogatives, but would be fatally forced to look up to a Prime Minister with a direct popular investiture. And the concern increases due to the fact that even the office of President of the Republic can be included in the spoils that the party or coalition that wins the political elections obtains, in one fell swoop, thanks to the majority bonus”.

And with the absolute majority, the prime minister will also have control over the appointments of judges of the Constitutional Court “and other guarantee bodies”. And then the final blow: Even the tribes of prehistory had a leader, but only constitutional democracies have separation of powers, checks and balances, that is, the barriers to avoid falling back into those autocracies against which all Constitutions were born.”

Similar concepts were expressed by the other senator for life, the scientist Elena Cattaneo, who underlined that to address the problem of instability we should rather aim to “restore strength, dignity and autonomy to a currently weakened Parliament”. When the general discussion in the Chamber ends, Minister Maria Elisabetta Casellati will respond, but at the moment it does not seem that the majority is willing to change course. Meloni defended the text (“with the reform everything will change”) and confirmed that we are heading to the referendum. “I don't worry about what my opponents say”, she said, then underlining that the referendum “will not concern” her but rather “the future”.