Italian political glossary

Amazons: the female members of Berlusconi’s inner circle.

Arcore: Berlusconi’s feud near Milan.

“Avviso di garanzia”: formal act by a District Attorney’s Office by which a person is notified of being under investigation. Not yet an indictment.

Award: political compromise. Also, the law or decree enforcing it.

“Bamboccioni”: Italian unemployed youngsters still living with their parents.

“Benemerita”: the Military Police Corps.

“Berlusconismo”: a negative term indicating Silvio Berlusconi’s approach to politics and influence on Italian society. A mixture of “celodurismo” (see), machism, kitsch, lack of public and business ethics and open disrespect for cultural circles.

Black: the color of neo-fascist organizations.

Blue car: official State car assigned to a politician or a high-ranking officer.

Campidoglio: the Rome City Hall.

Caste: group of people enjoying disproportionate privileges. Politicians are often referred as “the Caste”.

“Cattocomunismo”: a real or supposed leftist faction in the Catholic Church and in Catholic-inspired politics.

CEI: the Italian Bishops’ Conference.

“Celerino”: riot police officer.

“Celodurismo”: a cocky attitude to politics, expressed in the use of trivial language and profanity to expose concepts and insult adversaries. Sometimes it can involve a threat of physical or even armed violence.

“Cerchiobottismo”: the attitude of appeasing every lobbying party, even damaging public interest.

Chigi Palace: the Government or the Prime Minister’s Office.

Citizen: title used by members of the Five Stars Movement.

Colle: see Quirinale.

Confederate trade unions: the three main Italian trade unions.

Conscientious objector: before the abolition of the draft, someone refusing compulsory service in the Armed Forces. Also a medic of the National Health Service refusing to practice abortion or a pharmacist refusing to sell abortion drugs.

“Consulta”: the Constitutional Court.

Convention ad excludendum: First Republic (see) political rule forbidding to involve the Communist Party in any coalition supporting a Government.

Council of State: Supreme Administrative Court.

Cost of politics: the part of the State budget used to support the political activity of parties and politicians.

Crisis Unit: special office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tasked with the handling of emergencies abroad.

Eight per thousand: the financial contribution of the Italian State to the Catholic Church.

Equated schools: private schools recognized by the State.

Farnesina: the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

First Republic: Italy from 1946 to 1993.

Frozen slates: a characteristic of the current electoral system not allowing the “preferenze” (see).

“Gattopardismo”: a political attitude to switch allegiance. Also, the ability to simulate reforms without actually tackle the real underlying problems.

“Giovanilismo”: the tendency to discriminate older and middle-aged people.

Grazioli Palace: Berlusconi’s HQ in Rome.

Green: the color of the Northern League party.

“Grillino”: a supporter or a MP of the Five Stars Movement.

Historical compromise: political theory advocating the abrogation of the convention ad excludendum (see).

Honorable: a member of the Parliament or of the Sicilian Assembly.

“Incapiente”: a subject not paying taxes since it has no revenue.

Institutional reforms: any reform involving the Constitution or constitutional issues.

Internal Stability Pact: see Stability Pact.

IRAP: Regional Tax on Productive Activities, a tax on the turnout of enterprises.

IRPEF: Natural Persons Income Tax.

“Italicum”: the draft electoral law agreed by Silvio Berlusconi and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Jobs Act: labor law reform promised by Matteo Renzi.

Light blu: the color of Berlusconi’s parties.

Limited access: University course open only to a limited number of students.

Macro-region: a form of autonomous Government which should rule the Northern part of Italy.

Madama Palace: the Senate.

Marescialli Palace: the seat of the Higher Council of the Judiciary.

“Mattarellum”: the electoral law in force before the current one.

Meetup: social network used by the local branches of the Five Stars Movement.

Merlin Law: 1958 law banning brothels in Italy.

Montecitorio: the Chamber of Deputies.

Nazareno: the Democratic Party HQ in Rome.

Northern Question: the discontent in the richer and more industrialized regions in Northern Italy, which consider themselves hampered by high taxes, governmental incompetence and the Southern question (see).

NO TAV: movement opposing the scheduled building of a high-speed railway between Lyon and Turin. Also, the members and supporters of the movement.

“Olgettine”: the escorts who allegedly took part to Silvio Berlusconi’s parties.

Padania: an independent State that should be made of Northern Italy.

“Palazzaccio”: the seat of the Supreme Court.

Par condicio: law compelling TV channels to dedicate the same time on air to different candidates and political parties.

Peones: obscure members of Parliament without adequate competencies, a real political project and a reliable allegiance to their party.

Perfect bicameralism: the current constitutional system, according to which both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate have the same competencies, slowing down the passing of Bills and the parliamentary proceedings in general.

Piazza Affari: the Stock Exchange of Milan.

Piece of paper: high school licence or degree.

Pink quotas: placed reserved for women in electoral slates or corporate boards.

Pontida: town near Bergamo where the Northern League mass rallies are held.

“Pool”: a team of inquiring magistrates.

“Porcellum”: the electoral law in force, partially quashed by the Constitutional Court.

“Preferenza”: the nominal indication of the preferred candidate by the voter.

“Premierato”: a proposed institutional reform strengthening the prime ministerial powers.

Quirinale: the Presidency.

Red robe: a judge or prosecutor suspected of letting leftist ideas influence his work.

“Renzine”: the female members of Matteo Renzi’s inner circle.

Rubygate: the main sex scandal involving Berlusconi.

Scrapping: a purge of the old guard of a party.

Second Republic: Italy from 1993 until today.

Severino Law: law approved under the Monti Government on the moral requisite of holders and candidates to public offices. It was applied to Silvio Berlusconi triggering his expulsion from the Senate.

Sherpa: a member of Parliament acting as a mediator for his party in negotiations with other parties, or for his party factions in negotiations with other factions.

Small Parliament: the Higher Council of the Judiciary.

Southern Question: the lack of economic development and widespread organized crime in the Southern Italian regions.

Spread: index measuring the difference between the interest rate of Italian State bonds and German ones.

Stability Pact: set of legal rules severely limiting expenditures by public entities.

Subsidiaries: commercial companies whose shares are owned by public Entities.

Swamp: the difficulty to implement reforms in Italy.

TAR: administrative Court of first instance.

Tax wedge: the amount of taxes and social contributions due on salaries.

Third Republic: the supposed result of drastic institutional reforms (see).

Turnover freeze: the prohibition to hire new employees in the Civil Service.

Twisted intelligence services: intelligence services pursuing their own agenda.

Una tantum: temporary tax or financial measure.

Unified contract: a proposal to unify the labor law applicable to employees and individual contractors.

Variable geometries: different political parties supporting the same Government on different issues.

VAT code: anyone who is self-employed.

Via Nazionale: the Roman street where the seat of the Bank of Italy is.

Via XX Settembre: the seat of the Treasury.

Viminale: the seat of the Ministry of the Interior.

“Vitalizio”: a pension granted to a politician after a very short service.

Yellow Flames: the Tax Police.


7 thoughts on “Italian political glossary

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