Friday, November 18, 2011

History of parliamentary accountability

Italy's new prime minister (and finance minister) Mario Monti, who does not hold a seat in the Italian parliament, has appointed a new cabinet, and none of its members hold a seat in parliament either.  It's impressive how little concern anyone seems to express over this. They are technocrats, see, they have a job to do.  Democratic responsibility?  Meh.

Now, in principle, anyone who holds the confidence of the legislative majority can serve in government in a parliamentary democracy.  Canada has had cabinet ministers and sometimes even prime ministers without Commons seats.  But the whole government?  And for years to come? What is the mechanism for accountability to the legislature, to the people's elected representatives?

It's striking how little anyone seems to care.  Questions like responsibility to the elected representatives of the people seem unimportant compared to staving off the wrath of the Eurobankers.  Here's one brief expression of concern -- but such are hard to find.  It's not a good sign, methinks.
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