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Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese
A number of indicators, among them the recent curtailment of secret voting in the legislative process, suggest that Italian democracy is moving in the direction of a more majoritarian outlook than in the past. In this article Cotta tries to assess what could be the consequences of this process over the structure and functioning of the parliamentary parties (and particularly of those belonging to the traditional governing parties). The parliamentary groups, given their position at the junction between the institutional and the party dimension of the political system, are bound to be particularly affected by the ongoing changes. But, before discussing this problem, the article evaluates what have been in the past the organizational and functional characteristics of the Italian parliamentary parties and how they compare with other national examples.