5.c.6 – The tripartite powers is really the foundation of democracy?

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July 28, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti


The tripartite powers is really the foundation of democracy?

In the eighteenth century, with the rise of modern apparent democracies, it has been designed a system that provided the tripartition of the basic powers of the State into legislative, administrative and judicial, and entrusted such powers to separate and independent bodies. These powers are in fact ways in which the State may impose its authority to the citizen: for this reason they were so feared by the first democrats in the Western world. If one man or one institution had taken control of such coercive means, although democratically elected, could easily turn into a dictator. It was therefore thought to share and to confer such authority to other institutions, but it is obvious that if these institutions are not controlled by the public will be controlled by others and will not be too difficult for these latter to agree between themselves to the detriment of democracy and of people. More than the foundation of democracy, therefore, the tripartite powers is a fundamental protection.
The so-called fundamental powers, which together represent the power of an absolute sovereign, must always be kept separate and independent in the society, with one obvious exception: the same people that control all three should be the only link between them, otherwise some other entity would rival the authority of the population. Anyone can easily verify that today, with the parliamentary system, in general the public does not have a serious control over any of the three, indeed people are not able to make a real political change nor within the parliament or the government or even of the leaders of the Judiciary system.
It is good at this point to make some clarification on the three powers, as in common parlance it is easy to make confusion: how can they be independent if the first makes the laws, the second applies them and the third judges on the basis of them? It seems that from the first depend the other two. According to what we have said, what needs to be separated is their ability to impose and harass the population, i.e. their authority; for the legislative power we do not therefore intend, in this context, the general ability to enact laws, but that of establishing rules that directly affect the lives of citizens. The population is afraid of new taxes, of the raising of the retirement age or of the reduction in the protection of workers: the rules that require the lights for lighting the car plate or those to determine the frequency of maintenance of lifts, also being technically laws must be seen as different types of laws, placed outside of our discourse. Similarly it is feared that the administrative power is not the management of the environment or foreign affairs, but the authority of police to impose emergency measures restricting personal freedom, thus the power to dictate orders. We must therefore take care to entrust to separate entities the exercise of such authority, and not the normal legislative, administrative and judicial activity which in their performance are inextricably linked.


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