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Renewed constitutional order, and the end of the bipolar system?
It was hoped that the advent of the bipolar system in Italy as a way of reinforcing the majority party would reinforce the decision-making capacity of the state. The popular label assigned to it – ‘Second Republic’ – clearly indicates how the different party structure was followed by a different organisation of the state’s political sovereignty: so much so that if this bipolar structure were to cease, the conclusion would be that the Second Republic had failed. The bipolar system, which emerged as a response to the political, financial and social crisis of 1993-’94, ultimately and inevitably undermined the previous constitutional arrangement at the base. In the conflict between the new parties that have inherited this constitutional arrangement established by the CLN, or National Liberation Committee (those on the left, the DS, or Left Democrats, in particular) and those that are against (those on the right, Forza Italia in particular), it is the latter that have come up with the most complete, hence ‘subversive’ project to reform the Constitution and attack the bodies whose job it is to protect it. The result is that, at present, either party is unable to fully recognise the legitimacy of the other and that, in these conditions, that the only kind of state that can come about is one in which the constitution is revised every time the government changes. The ‘question of the centre’ thus ought to be addressed in terms of the actual concrete constitutional organisation of the political parties. Today, with the renewal of the old arrangement still incomplete, the Margherita (The Daisy) on the centre-left and the Union of Christian Democrats (UDC) on the centre-right, still combine to form the centre, the pivot which makes the other political parties rotate, but this might change in the event of a constitutional rearrangement. Since legitimisation takes place through language, the ‘question of the centre’ involves, above all, the rewriting of the basic political rules.