1948 rule: Progetto di legge 995

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1948 rule: Progetto di legge 995

Postby mark04ox » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:50 am

Hi everyone,

I'm just wondering if anyone knows anything about the political process behind Ricardo Antonio Merlo's proposal to remove the 1948 rule that stops people born to Italian mothers before 1948 receiving citizenship.

Merlo is a deputy to the Italian parliament from Argentina, member of MAIE (movement of Italians abroad). He proposed the law in the previous (15th) parliament, as proposal ****://legxv.camera.it/_dati/lavori/schedela/trovaschedacamera_wai.asp?pdl=1297&ns=2]1297[/url]. Many thousands of laws get proposed every parliament, but my understanding is that most of them fail by becoming 'dormant in committee', that is they end up assigned to a committee that never gets around to considering them. It seems, though, that 1297 went through a lot of consideration during the 18 months or so of its life. It only ended because the 15th parliament was dissolved when Prodi's coalition collapsed. So it seems like it was potentially headed for success (I understand laws usually take 2-3 years to pass).

The new law is proposal ****://www.camera.it/_dati/leg16/lavori/schedela/trovaschedacamera_wai.asp?pdl=995&ns=2]995[/url] in the 16th parliament. It has been assigned to a committee though it hasn't been considered yet. I don't know much about Italian politics, and I wonder whether the fact that Berlusconi's coalition is in power now will reduce the chances of it passing this time, both because it would increase the number of potential immigrants, and because it argues that the 1948 rule discriminates against women--and I think many of the far right are not particularly opposed to discrimination against women, and do not want more immigrants.

Can anyone who knows more about Italian politics than I do comment on the chances this law has of passing? Does the fact that it's already been through so much of the legislative process and been accordingly amended and fixed up increase its chances of passing, or is that outweighed by the change in the ruling coalition? Is there any way to lobby Italian parliamentarians to pass the law or are there any NGOs in Italy who might take up the cause of doing so?

Thanks for any information or opinions!
Mark
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Postby zagnut » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:08 am

The sponsors of the bill are all Pd, while all the committee charimen, leaders of the parliament are Pdl, Lega Nord etc. So this bill is likely to never even be examined by the commitee- it's just gathering dust.
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Postby mark04ox » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:48 am

Thanks zagnut. I am not sure about this. I have just gone over the sponsors of the bill, and here are the figures I get:

Right wing:
PDL: 6
MPA: 1
Total: 7

Left wing:
PD: 3
IdV: 2
Total: 5

Non-aligned:
MAIE: 1
SVP: 2
No party listed: 1
Total: 4

So it seems there are 7 sponsors of this law who are from the governing coalition and 4 who are at least not openly opposed to it. And one of the sponsors from the SVP, Zeller, is a member of the constitutional affairs committee to which the bill is currently assigned.

Maybe this doesn't look so bad after all? Am I missing something?

Thanks again!
Mark
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Postby zagnut » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:28 pm

I'm sorry, I had looked at the previous bill months ago and it was only 5 or 6 Pd guys.

I don't see Lega Nord and Co. going for this bill. They're right wing anti-foreigner types, and aren't keen to have additional folks from Argentina, Brazil, etc arrive on their shores. Even with Italian citizenship, the new arrivals may not be "pure" Italian, which is a big deal to Lega Nord.
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Postby CJC » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:20 pm

For those of us that are not familiar with the Italian political parties (and I do know they change from time-to-time) can you please spell out what the abbreviations mean? It would be very helpful to those of us just now learning the political process of Italy.

Lega Nord (Northern League) is obvious.

Thanks in advance.
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Postby mark04ox » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:33 pm

CJC:
There is a good list on ****://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Italy]Wikipedia[/url]. The parties mentioned above are:
PDL - Popolo della Libertà (Berlusconi's party)
MPL - Movimento per l'Autonomia (a right-wing party seeking some autonomy for Siciliy and southern Italy)
PD - Partito Democratico (center-left party)
IdV - Italia dei Valori (center-left)
MAIE - Movimento Associativo Italiani all'Estero (a party of deputies from abroad--only a couple of deputies belong to this)
SVP - Südtiroler Volkspartei (a party for German-speaking inhabitants of South Tyrol)

zagnut (and others):
That was what I had thought as well. But Lega Nord are still smaller than the PDL, and perhaps there are enough people in PDL close enough to the center to support this?

What would be the effect of a petition (probably signed mainly by foreigners of Italian descent)? Would there be any chance it could help to get the committee to consider the bill? Or would it backfire by giving the far right people evidence that there are lots of people who would become citizens if they passed the law?
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Postby Larry » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:54 pm

I highly doubt such a bill would get through this parliment... I get the sense that Lega Nord does not even like that fact that some of us here qualify for citizenship... I doubt it would help much, but I would be willing to sign a petition to overturn the 1948 rule.
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Postby zagnut » Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:03 pm

That was what I had thought as well. But Lega Nord are still smaller than the PDL, and perhaps there are enough people in PDL close enough to the center to support this?


PdL cannot maintain a majority without Lega Nord. Berlusconi's last govt fell because he didn't let Lega Nord have their way- then he was out of power for 2 years. He remembers this, and has faithfully kowtowed to them since the current govt came into power this Spring.
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Postby Larry » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:11 pm

This is correct and a very good point. PDL can not turn its back on Lega Nord if they want to keep power.
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Postby mark04ox » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:22 pm

Yes, it's a good point. However, I am not sure what Lega Nord's position would be on this bill. It is a relatively minor reform (with only one line item changing a few words in the existing law). And their official propaganda mainly seems to oppose illegal immigration and immigration from Africa, Asia and especially Muslim countries.

I agree that they may not be very happy with the idea of a lot of new Italians arriving from South America; but I get the impression that group is not their main target. Plus, from what I can tell, Lega Nord still consists of a mix of different political positions, including even some leftists. So if it's not on their national manifesto to oppose immigration by people of Italian descent, then perhaps they won't oppose it as a bloc? Or perhaps at least they won't make it a high priority.

Anyway, given their views about people of non-European descent, increasing the population of people of even half-Italian descent might even appeal to them...?

Well, maybe a petition would be worthwhile. We could send it to the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, and to the General Council for Italians Abroad (CGIE). I don't know whether it would do any good, but it would be nice to do something at least.
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Pure Italian?

Postby Davide » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:58 pm

Very interesting topic! I did, of course, vote in the last Italian election. Can someone tell me what a "pure Italian" is?
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Postby zagnut » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:44 pm

Can someone tell me what a "pure Italian" is?

According to Lega Nord, they'd have to be from Padana (northern Italy).

And their official propaganda mainly seems to oppose illegal immigration and immigration from Africa, Asia and especially Muslim countries.

For the whole story, look at the legislation they are enacting and their political rhetoric (not their official propaganda). They are even opposed to citizens of other EU countries (notably Romania and Bulgaria) entering Italy. South Americans, like all people of color, are on their list of undesirables.

The law would increase numbers of South Americans entering Italy. That's not something Lega Nord would care to see.
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Postby Larry » Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:38 pm

"Can someone tell me what a "pure Italian" is?"

I think you would get different answers from different people on this. If we are talking about Lega Nord's perspective, I personally think they would say: A white, natural born northern Italian citizen of Christian faith who is not a product of mixed marriage, born and raised in Padania, who works, pays taxes, and embraces "traditional" Germanic/northern Italian culture...

My buddy from Trento who is a Leghista would agree with this as well.

Mark,

You bring up some really good points and I do agree that it would be a minor reform in terms of the language of the law, but it would give citizenship to many thousand of people around the world. In my opinion, any law that gives citizenship to many thousand of people would be a rather large reform.

I read on Expattalk several posts that discussed this topic at least briefly. As I understand it, PDL and Berlusconi were trying to court dual citizens in Argentina and Brazil in an attempt to gain votes in the past election, but I still have yet to find any facts as to whether Lega Nord supports Italians abroad or not. My assumption would be that they do not support us because most of us abroad are of Southern Italian decent and Lega Nord has always had gripes with non-northerners. I certainly agree that their main gripe currently is with Eastern Europeans, Africans and Muslums, however.

http://expattalk.com/groupee/forums/a/t ... 9290018955

(I do not usually agree with Bill2 because he is way too liberal for me, but he is incredibly bright and well informed. He claims Leghistas are "...equal opportunity haters." which is probably true for the most part).

http://expattalk.com/groupee/forums/a/t ... 038445/p/1

(This whole thread discusses the politics of the last election pretty well, but the citizenship discussion does not begin until around page 3. Here is another one of Bill2's comments, which I would have to agree with. "Without Lega Nord, Berlusconi doesn't have a majority. The Lega can effectively veto any law, unless PdL and PD unite to support it. So much for any immigration law or citizenship law reform for the next 5 years."
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