The Duce of Italian Social Republic (Italian: Duce della Repubblica Sociale Italiana) colloquially referred to in English as the Duce of Italy, is the head of state, supreme commander-in-chief of the Italian Armed Forces.
At the apex of the Fascist Republic’s power structure is the Duce, who has vast formal powers and no term limits. He is chosen by a body composed of elected members — the Tribunes of the Comitia Legionum, elected by all PNF members. Both the powers of the office and his partially uncontested leadership, ensure that Duce Italo Debalti is Italy's paramount leader. Under the constitution, the Duce is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, giving him the power to appoint commanders. The office is held, by law, custom and nature of the political system, in conjunction with the office of Duce of the Fascism (It: Duce del Fascismo). The current Duce of the Republic is Italo Debalti, who took office on 28 October 1991.
Election and appointment Edit
The Duce is elected by the Tribunes of the Comitia Legionum, an electoral college formed by the hierarchy of the Party and of the MVSN. In order to be admitted as an official candidate, potential candidates must receive the approval of the Political Directory of the National Fascist Party. After the election, the appointment is ratified by the Political Directory of the PNF.
Spending and financing of campaigns are highly regulated and are under a strict surveillance. There is a cap on spending, at approximately 1 billion Lire. After the Duce is acclaimed, he goes through a solemn investiture ceremony called "Passaggio dei Poteri" ("handing over of powers").
The Italian Social Republic is a semi-presidential system. Although it is the Chief of Government that oversees much of the nation's actual day-to-day affairs, the Duce wields significant influence and authority, especially in the fields of national security and foreign policy. The Duce holds the nation's most senior office, and outranks both all other politicians and all other officials.
The Duce's greatest power is his ability to choose the Chief of Government. Being the Parliament always on the same side of the Duce, he has a more active role than formal rules give him, and he actlually direct government policy. The Chief of Government is the personal choice of the Duce, and is easily replaced if the administration becomes unpopular.
- The Duce approves and promulgates laws.
- The Duce may also refer the law for review to the Constitutional Council prior to promulgation
- The Duce may dissolve the Chamber of Fasci and Corporations
- The Duce is the Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Armed Forces.
- The Duce may order the use of nuclear weapons.
- The Duce appoints and dismisses the Chief of Government. He names and dismisses the other ministers, with the agreement of the Chief of Government.
- The Duce appoints most officials (with the proposal of the cabinet).
- The Duce appoints the members of the Constitutional Council.
- The Duce receives foreign ambassadors.
- The Duce may grant a pardon (but not an amnesty) to convicted criminals; the president can also lessen or suppress criminal sentences.
Death and succession Edit
Upon the death or resignation of the Duce, the President of the Grand Council of Fascism acts as interim president. It is important to note that, in this situation, the President of the Grand Council became an Interim President of the Republic; he does not become the new Duce of the Republic and therefore do not has to resign from his position as President of the Grand Council. The Presidency is a mere formal and ceremonial duty; the power is vested in those who exercise the Interregnum; awaiting the choice of a successor, the power is given to the members of the Political Directorate. During the interregnum the supreme power is exercised, in turn every five days, by each of the members of the Directorate. The interregnum in the complex may have a duration ranging from 5 to 50 days.
The first round of a new acclamation be organized no sooner than twenty days and no later than sixty days following the vacancy of the leadership. During this period, the Interim President is not allowed to dismiss the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations.
If there is no acting president of the Grand Council of Fascism, the powers of the Duce of the republic are exercised by the Chief of Government. If the Duce cannot attend meetings, including meetings of the Council of Ministers, he can ask the Chief of Government to attend in his stead. This clause has been applied by Duce travelling abroad, ill, or undergoing surgery.
Salary and residences Edit
The Duce of the Republic is paid a salary according to a pay grade defined by his own regulation, generally in comparison to the pay grades of the most seniors members of the Civil Service. In addition he is paid a residence stipend of 3%, and a function stipend of 25% on top of the salary and residence indemnity. This gross salary and these indemnities are the same as those of the Chief of Government, and are 50% higher than the highest paid to other members of the government. Using the 2008 pay grades, this amounts to a monthly pay of £10,950,000. The salary and the residence stipend are taxable for income tax.
The official residence and office of the Duce is the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome. Other official residences include:
- Villa Torlonia, in Rome,
- Tenuta di Castelporziano, near Rome, is the current official vacation residence