Politics of Sicily

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politics and government of

The Politics of Sicily, Italy takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Sicilian Regional Assembly.


The oldest organised party of Sicily was the Sicilian Socialist Party, founded out from the Fasci Siciliani in 1893, but the region was primarily a stronghold of the liberal establishment (see Historical Right, Historical Left and Liberals) that governed Italy for decades. However, by the end of the 19th century, Sicily elected several deputies from left-wing parties, namely the Radical Party, the Italian Republican Party, the Italian Socialist Party and the Italian Reformist Socialist Party.[1]

After Italian Fascism (whose partisan arm, the National Fascist Party was well supported in the region) and the Allied invasion of Sicily during the World War II, Sicily increasingly became a stronghold of Christian Democracy, in opposition to the Italian Communist Party. Sicilians had also a penchant for conservative/nationalist politics, represented mainly by the Monarchist National Party and the Italian Social Movement.

After the dissolution of these parties, in the early 1990s, the region was long governed by a "center-right coalition", notably including the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, whose regional leader, Salvatore Cuffaro, served as President of Sicily from 2001 to 2008, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and the post-fascist National Alliance. Cuffaro's Christian Democrats have since been the main party of government in Sicily as they had been part both of the administrations of Raffaele Lombardo of the Movement for the Autonomies (2008–2012) and that of Rosario Crocetta of the Democratic Party (since 2012).

Legislative branch

The Sicilian Regional Assembly is composed of 90 members (or deputies). 80 deputies are elected in provincial constituencies by proportional representation using the largest remainder method with a Droop quota and open lists, while 10 councillors (elected in a general ticket) come from a "regional list", including the President-elect. One seat is reserved for the candidate who comes second.

The Assembly is elected for a five-year term, but, if the President suffers a vote of no confidence, resigns or dies, under the simul stabunt, simul cadent clause introduced in 2001 (literally they will stand together or they will fall together), also the Assembly is dissolved and a snap election is called

Executive branch

Main article: President of Sicily

The Regional Cabinet (Giunta Regionale) is presided by the President of the Region (Presidente della Regione), who is elected for a five-year term, and is currently composed by 11 members: the President and 10 regional assessors (Assessori, literally "aldermen"), including a Vice President (Vice Presidente).

Originally appointed by the Sicilian Regional Assembly, since 2001 de jure, he is elected by popular vote every five years under universal suffrage: the candidate who receives a plurality of votes, is elected.

His office is connected to the Regional Assembly (ARS), which is elected contextually: one fifth of the assembly seats are generally reserved to his supporters, which are wholesale elected concurrently with the President. The Assembly and the President are linked by an alleged relationship of confidence: if the President resigns or he is dismissed by the Assembly, a snap election is called for both the legislative and the executive offices, because in no case the two bodies can be chosen separately. The popular election of the President and the relationship of confidence between him and the legislature, allow to identify the Sicilian model of government as a particular form of semi-presidential system.

The President of Sicily promulgates regional laws and regulations. He can receive special administrative functions by the national government. The President is one of the 90 members of the Regional Assembly and, in this capacity, he can propose new laws. He appoints and dismiss the Regional Cabinet (called Giunta Regionale in Italian). The Cabinet is composed by regional assessors (assessori, literally "aldermen"[2]) who can be members of the Council at the same time. Assessors should not be confused with the ministers: according to Italian administrative law, assessors only receive delegations from the President to rule a bureau or an agency, the Region being a single legal person, not divided in ministries. One assessor can be appointed Vice President. The President can also appoint four under-secretaries (sottosegretari) to help the President in his functions.

The Regional Cabinet prepares the budget, appoints the boards of public regional agencies and companies, manages assets, develops projects of governance, and resorts to the Constitutional Court of Italy if it thinks that a national law may violate regional powers. The President and the Cabinet are two different authorities of the Region: in matters within its competence, the Cabinet has the power to vote to give its approval.

List of Presidents

The current President of Sicily is Rosario Crocetta, who is serving for his first term after winning the 2012 regional election.

Name Term of office Political Party Legislature
1 Giuseppe Alessi 30 May 1947 13 June 1949 DC I (1947)
2 Franco Restivo 13 June 1949 20 July 1951 DC
20 July 1951 4 June 1955 II (1951)
(1) Giuseppe Alessi 4 June 1955 4 April 1956 DC III (1955)
3 Giuseppe La Loggia 4 April 1956 13 May 1958 DC
4 Silvio Milazzo 13 May 1958 12 August 1959 DC
12 August 1959 23 February 1960 IV (1959)
5 Benedetto Majorana della Nicchiara 23 February 1960 8 September 1961 DC
6 Giuseppe D'Angelo 8 September 1961 25 July 1963 DC
25 July 1963 4 August 1964 V (1963)
7 Francesco Coniglio 4 August 1964 11 August 1967 DC
8 Vincenzo Carollo 11 August 1967 20 September 1969 DC VI (1967)
9 Mario Fasino 20 September 1969 10 August 1971 DC
10 August 1971 22 December 1972 VII(1971)
10 Vincenzo Giummara 22 December 1972 26 March 1974 DC
11 Angelo Bonfiglio 26 March 1974 13 August 1976 DC
13 August 1976 20 March 1978 VIII(1976)
12 Piersanti Mattarella 20 March 1978 6 January 1980 DC
13 Mario D'Acquisto 6 January 1980 7 August 1981 DC
7 August 1981 23 December 1982 IX(1981)
14 Calogero Lo Giudice 23 December 1982 19 October 1983 DC
15 Santi Nicita 19 October 1983 21 March 1984 DC
16 Modesto Sardo 21 March 1984 1 February 1985 DC
17 Rino Nicolosi 1 February 1985 12 August 1986 DC
12 August 1986 12 August 1991 X(1986)
18 Vincenzo Leanza 12 August 1991 16 July 1992 DC XI(1991)
19 Giuseppe Campione 16 July 1992 21 December 1993 DC
20 Francesco Martino 21 December 1993 16 May 1995 PLI
21 Matteo Graziano 16 May 1995 16 June 1996 PPI
22 Giuseppe Provenzano 16 June 1996 20 January 1998 FI XII(1996)
23 Giuseppe Drago 20 January 1998 21 November 1998 CDU
24 Angelo Capodicasa 21 November 1998 26 July 2000 DS
(18) Vincenzo Leanza 26 July 2000 17 July 2001 FI
25 Salvatore Cuffaro 17 July 2001 28 May 2006 UDC XIII(2001)
28 May 2006 18 January 2008[3] XIV(2006)
26 Raffaele Lombardo 28 April 2008 10 November 2012 MpA XV(2008)
27 Rosario Crocetta 10 November 2012 incumbent PD XVI(2012)

Local government


Sicily was divided in nine provinces, which were a traditional form of local administration in the region. Socialist and Christian-democratic ideas had an early diffusion in quite all the provinces around World War I. After the Fascist parenthesis, left-wing parties found their strongholds in central agricultural provinces, especially in the Province of Enna, but they didn't succeeded in local elections, while Christian Democracy obtained high scores in others parts of the Region.

On 19 March 2013 the Sicilian Regional Assembly decided to turn them into Free Associations of Municipalities (Liberi consorzi tra comuni). Finally, on 30 July 2015 the Regional Assembly approved a law which put into force the Free Associations of Municipalities, regulating their functions and abolishing definitively the nine historical provinces. The same law created the new Metropolitan Cities of Palermo, Messina and Catania.[4]

Province Inhabitants established current status[5]
Palermo 1,250,296 1860 Metropolitan City
Catania 1,167,006 1860 Metropolitan City
Messina 651,921 1860 Metropolitan City
Agrigento 453,416 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Trapani 436,459 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Syracuse 404,271 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Ragusa 320,003 1927 Free Association of Municipalities
Caltanissetta 270,102 1927 Free Association of Municipalities
Enna 171,921 1927 Free Association of Municipalities


Sicily is also divided in 390 comuni (municipalities), which have even more history, having been established in the Middle Ages when they were the main places of government. 15 comuni have more than 50,000 inhabitants.

Municipality Inhabitants Mayor Party Election
Palermo 654,121 Leoluca Orlando Independent 2012
Catania 291,274 Enzo Bianco PD 2013
Messina 241,310 Renato Accorinti Independent 2013
Syracuse 123,376 Giancarlo Garrozzo PD 2013
Marsala 82,933 Alberto Di Girolamo PD 2015
Gela 77,335 Domenico Messinese M5S 2015
Ragusa 73,030 Federico Piccitto M5S 2013
Trapani 69,182 Vito Damiano FI 2012
Caltanissetta 63,290 Giovanni Ruvolo PD 2014
Vittoria 63,002 Giuseppe Nicosia PD 2011
Agrigento 59,645 Calogero Firreto UdC 2015

Parties and elections

Latest regional election

The latest regional election, for the renewal of the Regional Assembly and the election of the President of Sicily, was held on 28 October 2012. Rosario Crocetta (Democratic Party), who had the support of the Union of the Centre, won over Nello Musumeci (The Right), who led a centre-right coalition including The People of Freedom. Crocetta won just 30.5% of the vote in a highly fragmented political landscape and the centre-left coalition obtained 39 regional deputies, 6 short of majority.

Candidates Regional lists Provincial lists Total
votes % seats Parties votes % seats group
Rosario Crocetta 617,073 30.47 9 Democratic Party 257,274 13.42 14 39
Union of the Centre 207,827 10.84 11
The Megaphone – Crocetta List (incl. ApI and PSI)[6][7] 118,346 6.17 5
Democratic Union for Consumers 100 0.00 0
Nello Musumeci 521,022 25.73 1 The People of Freedom 247,351 12.91 12 21
Popular Construction 112,169 5.85 4
Musumeci List (incl. The Right)[8] 107,397 5.60 4
Alliance of the Centre 5,017 0.26 0
Giancarlo Cancelleri 368,006 18.17 Five Star Movement 285,202 14.88 15 15
Gianfranco Micciché 312,112 15.41 Party of the Sicilians 182,737 9.53 10 15
Great South 115,444 6.02 5
Future and Freedom 83,891 4.37 0
Thought Action Party 959 0.05 0
Giovanna Marano 122,633 6.10 Italy of Values 67,738 3.53 0
Left Ecology FreedomFdSGreens 58,753 3.06 0
Mariano Ferro 31,390 1.55 The People of Pitchforks 23,965 1.20 0
Cateno De Luca 25,058 1.23 Sicilian Revolution 23,966 1.20 0
Gaspare Sturzo 19,248 0.95 Sturzo President 14,929 0.77 0
Giacomo Di Leo 4,495 0.22 Workers' Communist Party 2,031 0.10 0
Lucia Pinsone 3,659 0.18 Voluntaries for Italy 2,278 0.11 0
Total candidates 2,024,696 100.00 10 Total parties 1,915,830 100.00 80 90

Source: Sicilian Region


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