Etrurian Third Republic
United Etrurian Federation
|Government||Federal constitutional presidential republic|
|Mauro Vittore Camillo|
|Mauro Vittore Camillo|
• Upper house
|Chamber of the States|
• Lower house
|Chamber of the People|
|1 January 1948|
|4 May 1960|
The Etrurian Third Republic (Vespasian: La Terza Repubblica, sometimes written as La 3° Repubblica) was the system of government adopted in Etruria from 1948, when the CN Mandate for Etruria was dissolved upon the formal adoption of the Constitution of Lake Imperia, until 4 May 1960, when the Etrurian Defence Force seized control through a coup d'état.
The Third Republic was formed out of the Constitution of Lake Imperia (Costituzione del Lago Imperia), the governing basic law produced by the two-year CN Mandate for Etruria - which had governed Etruria following its defeat in the Solarian War. The Constitution of Lake Imperia forged a markedly different system to what had been in place since the San Sepulchro Revolution of 1888 (with the exception of the single-party totalitarian state between 1938-1946), with the introduction of a presidential system over the long tradition of a parliamentary system. The two-years of CN government were marred with ideological division among the foreign technocrats and the Etrurian politicians tasked with aiding them, with much division sparked by Etrurian opposition to drastic alterations to its political culture and the CN officials' desire to "consolidate Etrurian democracy" through a highly balanced and separated federal state.
The Republic officially began on 1 January, following the first democratic election since 1926, with a comfortable win by the centrist-liberal Democratic Action, which entered into coalition with the centre-right Sotirian People’s Party, Giuseppe Zappella was elected President by direct-election the same day. Throughout its existence, the Third Republic was hampered by competing branches of government, intense regionalism, institutional corruption and incompetent economic management. The uneven reconstruction of post-war Etruria contributed directly to the Western Emergency and the conflict between the federal government and left-wing nationalist groups in Carinthia and Novalia. The national security crisis, economic stagnation and the widespread moral and social decay of poverty-stricken Etrurian society pushed the military to ultimately seizing power in a bloodless coup on 4 May 1960. The Third Republic ended with the establishment of an authoritarian military government.
The period of the Etrurian Third Republic is subject to continued academic and political debate in Etruria till this day. Many academics following the 4 May Coup, denounced it as a "failed social experiment", while economists have widely reached consensus that the policies and failures of the Third Republic, kept Etruria's economic development at least 20-years behind its neighbours. The often chaotic politics of the Third Republic is also credited for denying Etruria the ability to reconcile with its National Solarianist past, nor the crimes committed during the Solarian War, as well as giving vital space for the preservation of the far-right. In 2020, a poll by Etrurians who lived through the period, showed that over 80% consider it to be a "period of misery and failure."
The Third Republic was established after two-years of government by officials from the Community of Nations and Etrurian technocrats. The foundations of the new government were established at the Convention of Lake Imperia, having taken over a year to agree to a constitution, designed to construct and consolidate a vibrant multi-party democracy in Etruria. The new system was designed to ensure that Etruria would never again see a totalitarian dictatorship like the National Solarian regime that sparked the Solarian War. However, the process was not without controversies; with the Etrurian technocrats arguing for a continuation of the historic parliamentary system, against the CN officials who opted for a presidential system, with major checks and balances, and increased powers for the states of the federation. The debate over government system was so fierce that in mid-1947, half of the Etrurian contingent in the CN-government resigned in protest. The CN government under Sean Fitzgerald, simply replaced with them life-long Etrurian liberal reformists who backed the presidential system. As means to accommodate the opposition, the CN provided constitutional amendments such as granting the State Council (the upper-house) the ability to dissolve the Senate for electoral purposes by a two-thirds majority. The historic tradition of powerful parties in the Senate also resulted in the CN introducing proportional representation with an electoral threshold of 15%, guaranteeing a four-party system along traditional ideological lines; the hard-left, centre-left, centre and centre-right.
By November 1947, the constitution was completed and signed collectively by the Convention of Lake Imperia. Despite suggestions from several quarters that the referendum should be put to popular vote through a referendum, this was ultimately rejected by both CN and Etrurian officials, who cited the Mandate’s expiry date being January 1. Historians claim that the lack of a referendum denied the Third Republic the popular legitimacy that may have preserved it, Felice Moro, wrote in 1999, “without a referendum, there was no popular stake, these institutions were not cared for, protected or loved. No Etrurian, bar the 35 who wrote the constitution, had a relationship with the new republic.”
Following the constitution’s signing, the CN organised the first general and presidential election for December. These would be the first elections in Etruria since 1926; with the outbreak of the Great War and the swift seizure of power of the National Solarianists blocking any democratic action. The elections took place without much fanfare, many of the parties competing were legal successors to the pre-ERR parties, with the exception of the United Social Movement, which stood as the successor to the ERR-era Revolutionary Legion of Etruria.
The dual legislative-presidential election was held on December 4, resulting in Giuseppe Zapella’s election as president and his Democratic Action winning the largest number of seats. The Sotirian People’s Party came a close second, with the centre-left, and hard-left following. The USM failed to pass the threshold to gain any seats. The first democratically elected government in Etruria since 1926 took the form of a DA-SPP coalition. The government was formed and prepared by the time the CN officially dissolved its mandate on 1 January 1948, giving way to the United Etrurian Federation.
Unlike previous Etrurian states, which were parliamentary in nature, the Third Republic adopted a presidential system upon the dissolution of the Community of Nations Mandate for Etruria in 1948. The Constitutional Convention, established by the CN in 1946 drew significant influence from abroad, with numerous Etrurians in agreement with Eucleans and Asterians on the need to depart from Etruria’s history of easily corrupted parliamentarianism. The belief among delegates to the Convention was predicated around the separation of powers, checks and balances provided by the presidential system.
The 1948 Constitution as a result established Etruria as a federal republic, under a President who would be elected directly by the people for a term of four years, to be renewable for only one more term. The President would serve as the head of the executive branch and oversee a federal council of ministers, whom he or she would appoint and would be confirmed by majority vote of the legislature. The President upon election would also appoint a Deputy President to be confirmed by the legislature. The 1948 constitution also provided a unique feature compared to other presidential republics, in that a president could be removed by no-confidence vote by the legislature, seen as a major tool for removing any aspiring authoritarian leader. Another feature of the 1948 constitution was the mandated presidential election in the result of an incumbent's resignation or removal from office, rather than the Deputy President succeeding him for the remainder of the term. This was lauded as a celebration in democracy, due to the Deputy’s appointment rather than election.
The legislature of Etruria remained the Senate of the Federation, with the Chamber of the People as the lower-house and the Chamber of the States as the upper-house. The Chamber of the People was comprised of 340 members, elected to single-member constituencies, distributed across the fourteen states of Etruria in line with population. The Chamber of the States would have twenty-eight members, two from each state. Both chambers would be elected in parallel every six years with unlimited terms. Notably, the threshold for parties to enter the Senate was markedly low (2% from 1948 to 1954 and 3% from 1954 to 1960), this resulted in numerous small parties, also forcing the president to rely on weak legislative coalitions to support his agenda.
Throughout its existence, the Third Republic fell victim to chronic government instability in both the executive and legislative branches. Historians debate as to whether the Third Republic’s weaknesses were rooted in its purposeful restraining of the executive or the “excessive inclusiveness of the legislature”, insofar the sheer number of parties and their small size gave greater influence on individual legislators over the executive. The president being subject to votes of no-confidence over impeachment-type tools also gave outsized influence on the legislature, as the weak coalitions presidents relied upon were repeatedly victims of opportunistic party-motivated attacks and removals.
The legislative terms exceeding the presidential terms meant that presidents would be forced to contend with a shifting sands senate, that would morph, fluctuate and liquify with party loyalties and personalities without the hope of elections saving a president or consolidating him. The highly personalised nature of politics during the Third Republic resulted in many political aims and objectives being sidelined for personal ambition or short-lived allegiances secured for personal benefits outside the legislature. It was noted that the 1948-1954 senate saw over 20 established party-groups come and go as lawmakers meandered for financial gain or influence gathering. In 1953, it was revealed that the Liberal Labour Party abandoned the Democratic Action party after its leader was paid ₣2,500 (€5,000 in 2021) to defect by the Sotirian Democratic League.
The personality focused nature of party politics resulted in party-defections by individual lawmakers incredibly common. Elladio Gucciardo, a member of the Chamber of the People from 1948 to 1954, was dubbed “Il Furetto” (the ferret) by the press because of him changing party affiliations 28 times in six years. In 1955, it was revealed that Gucciardo financially gained from his defections, offering his affiliation and votes for a fixed fee. While Gucciardo was the most infamous politician in this regard, he was not alone. During the 1948-1954 term, lawmakers defected parties 119 times collectively. In some instances, lawmakers changed affiliation in return for promises of business ventures, favours and positions in prospective committees or governments.
The fluctuating party sizes denied every president of the Third Republic a reliable legislative allied group. President Giuseppe Zappella (1948-1950) lost his coalition majority within ten months of his term beginning when six members of his own Democratic Action defected to Libertas but regained it a month before his resignation when three returned.
Further to the inherent instability of legislative coalitions, was the role of more stable and permanent parties. The far-left Etrurian Worker’s Unity Party which had links to numerous far-left groups in Carinthia and Novalia, the centre right Libertas and the far-right Movement for a New Republic were able to exert significant pressure on the executive, while their power and influence over smaller parties made certain coalitions toxic. For example, XX of the centre left Democratic Worker’s Party’s reliance on the EWUP in 1956 to push thorough the year’s budget resulted in Libertas and MNR cooperating to bring down the government, accusing it of “seditious sympathies.” The failure to pass the budget led to the resignation of XX and a fourth presidential election
The Third Republic according to opinion polls and studies since 1984 has consistently and repeatedly be ranked as the worst period of modern Etrurian history, which for non-Etrurian sociologists and historians has sparked significant debate and intrigue, owing to it competing with two period of authoritarian dictatorship (the Greater Solarian Republic and the Military dictatorship). In an in-depth study between 1995 and 1997, researchers from the Euclean University of Kesselbourg found that an overwhelming majority of Etrurian respondents ranked the Third Republic as the lowest point in modern history for seemingly “failing to honour its promise of a democratic and prosperous post-war future.” The resentment appears focused on the economic and political failures of the Third Republic, with many respondents arguing that if the governments had not failed in reconstruction, the Western Emergency would have been avoided and with it, the Junta.
Etrurian scholars have also ranked the Third Republic as one of the greatest failures of Etrurian statecraft and governance. Franco Gugliuzza in his extensive review of the Third Republic wrote in 2004, that the Third Republic essentially condemned Etruria to a loss of two-decades worth of economic development and recovery, a rehabilitated far-right and near fragmentation of the Etrurian nation.
For the first twenty years of the current Fourth Republic, the historiographical view of the Third among Etrurian politicians was fundamentally negative and referenced as an example of "what not to do in government." The centre-left SDP-led coalition under Miloš Vidović (1984-1989) and Vincenzo Biava (1989-1994) regularly compared their efforts to the Third Republic. In 1985, during a speech to lawmakers President Vidović said, “for everyday that our democracy lives, we must forever be conscious of what the Third Republic inflicted upon democracy and the Etrurian people; incompetence, greed, selfishness and the pursuit of ambition over the people, be conscious of this and do the opposite.”
During the various corruption scandals of the late 2000s that endangered both the Social Democratic Party and its allies, fears of the Fourth Republic going the way of the Third became widespread and prominent, both among the political class and general electorate. In 2009, there was a surge in support for far-right political parties at the state-level, resulting the collapse of the SDP-led coalition under President Vinko Begović and the victory of the EFP-SD coalition.
The Miraviglia Scandal at the height of the 2016 EC referendum again drew stark comparisons to the Third Republic, as the scandal decimated the standing of the two traditional parties and their allies. As this led to the collapse of their support and the rapid rise of the far-right neo-nationalist Tribune Movement, the comparisons again were made with greater urgency. In 2017, Gugliuzza wrote, “history now repeats itself. The agents of a promising global and Euclean future succumb to ego and corruption and in their place rises a far-right nightmare ready to devour our institutions and democracy. The curse of the Third Republic lives on.”