The public’s distrust of the Italian parliament has spread like a pandemic over the past few years. According to the Eurobarometer data, in the last fifteen years the portion of the Italian population declaring a measure of trust in the country’s highest representative institution has never exceeded one third. Apparently, the Italian political system has proven unable to tackle citizens’ distrust, as the gap between those who tend not to trust the Italian parliament and those who tend to trust it still amounts to more than 20 percentage points, also after the start of Legislature XVIII in March 2018. This is perhaps surprising, as the Italian elections held in 2018 brought about a number of novelties in the party system and in the institutional framework. At the same time, however, some political dynamics in the Italian parliament did not change after the 2018 elections, and this has probably helped to preserve the image of the Italian parliament as a ‘delegitimised’ institution. It is especially on these patterns of continuity and discontinuity with the past that could be observed at the start of Legislature XVIII that the present Special Issue focuses.


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