Fabio Ratto Trabucco

The Central Referendum Office in the Procedure for Regional Territorial Change

  • Abstract

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The writing concerns itself with the matter of the procedure for regional territorial change involving the switch of a "Comune" (municipality) from one Region to another pursuant to the second paragraph of Art. 132 of the Constitution, and particularly the unappellable decision with regard to the legitimacy of a request for referendum on the part of the Central Referendum Office at the Court of Cassation upon resolution of the council of the concerned local authority. Given that the jurisprudence of the said organ has always been unanimous in deeming legitimate a petition for referendum submitted jointly by different local authorities - notwithstanding different doctrinal opinions founded on the nature of the territory as constituent element of the local authority not interpretable in an all-inclusive sense - it is pointed out that in the case considered a measure was recently adopted by the President of the organ of the Supreme Court dealing with a joint petition for this type of referendum submitted by two municipalities in the Province of Belluno. This unusual act of a monocratic nature by the President, which took place in lieu of the convocation of the collegiate organ as imposed by Law No. 352/1970, rejected the joint petition for referendum, arguing apodictically that any local authority can resolve a petition only for itself. In view of the unchallengeable acts of the organ, the upshot is that said abnormal measure thwarts "in toto" the exercise of the constitutionally guaranteed right of local communities to take the initiative in favour of regional territorial change, which in the such procedure turns out to be totally devoid of protection against any omissions and/or errors, as appears quite evident in the case in point.

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