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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

The Dissolution of Municipal Councils due to Organized Crime Infiltration

Organised Crime
Public Administration
Domestic Politics
State Power
Filomena Occhiuzzi
Università degli Studi di Milano
Filomena Occhiuzzi
Università degli Studi di Milano

The research paper topic is focused on a specific legal instrument, which consists in the Central government’s power to “dissolve” municipal councils in the case of infiltrations by organized crime. In the Italian administrative legislation, local councils may be dissolved not only for reasons of public order or for continued neglect of their duties, but also for the interference and the pressure that organized crime may exercise on the members of municipal councils.
This specific administrative law instrument is defined in art. 143 T.U.E.L. and is part of the antimafia legislation. It was introduced in 1991 as an emergency law to cope with the serious risk of maladministration due to local authorities’ subjugation to criminal power. The aim of the dissolution of local councils is to preserve constitutional and fundamental values such as democracy and the rule of law, but it’s also a very strict legal tool as it affects a democratically elected community. The specific regulation describes the reasons and the cases in which municipalities may be dissolved due to organized crime infiltrations.
The institution in charge of applying this legal tool is the Prefect, a Central Government official whose duties lie in the sphere of local government. The Prefect, resident in each Province, is responsible for enforcing the orders of the Central Government and has powers of control over the organs of Province and Communes. The procedure involves the major constitutional bodies such as the Parliament, the Ministry of Interior and the President of the Republic who has the power to adopt the final act to dissolute the local council.
The subject is also strictly connected to the prevention of corruption as often the infiltrations by organized crime in municipalities are due to the corruption of public officials. Therefore, part of the work is focused on the prevention of corruption in the public sector, while the major aim of the paper proposal is to analyse the evolution of the relevant legislation on the issue of the dissolution of municipal councils for organized crime infiltration involving, when possible, a comparative dimension with different legal systems.
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