Electoral laws, judicial review and the principle of “Communicating vessels”

This paper briefly refers to the preventive judicial review mechanism of electoral laws, included in the now-failed reform proposal so-called “Renzi-Boschi”, as a missed opportunity to “rationalize” the Italian Constitutional Court’s interventions on electoral laws. Indeed, recently the Court found itself to stand in for policy-makers’ inertia, at the price of a peculiar twist of the ordinary mechanism to access judicial review, as showed by decisions 1/2014 and 35/2017. Such outcome, on the one hand, raises legitimacy issues for the Constitutional judge that are (also) entrusted to compliance with procedural rules established by lawmakers. On the other hand, it provides further confirmation of the odd functioning of the Italian democratic system, which on occasion inspires itself to a principle of “communicating vessels” among functions of policy-making and control instead of the more proper principle of separation, with inevitable consequences even on the running of the rule of law.