Statuto Albertino
The Statuto Albertino or Albertine Statute was the constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 that King Charles Albert
Charles Albert of Sardinia
Charles Albert was the King of Piedmont-Sardinia from 1831 to 1849. He succeeded his distant cousin Charles Felix, and his name is bound with the first Italian statute and the First War of Independence...

 conceded to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

 in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 on 4 March 1848. The Statuto later became the constitution of the unified Kingdom of Italy and remained in force, with changes, until 1948.

Background and Contents

The Statuto was proclaimed only because of concern at the revolutionary insurrection then agitating Italy. Charles Albert was only following the example of other Italian rulers, but it was the only constitution to survive the repression that followed the First War of Independence (1848–1849). The Statuto remained the basis of the legal system even after Italian unification
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 was achieved in 1861 and the Kingdom of Sardinia became the Kingdom of Italy. Even though it suffered deep modifications, especially during the fascist dictatorship
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 (who, however, ruled with the tacit approval of King Victor Emmanuel III), it was never formally abrogated until Italy became a republic in 1948.

In its original version it instituted a Parliament
Parliament of Italy
The Parliament of Italy is the national parliament of Italy. It is a bicameral legislature with 945 elected members . The Chamber of Deputies, with 630 members is the lower house. The Senate of the Republic is the upper house and has 315 members .Since 2005, a party list electoral law is being...

 composed of the Senate of the Kingdom entirely nominated by the king and an elected House of Deputies. The King retained extensive powers, as shown in Article 5:

The King alone has executive power
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

. He is the supreme head of the state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, commands all the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

 by sea and land, declares war, makes treaties of peace
Peace treaty
A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, that formally ends a state of war between the parties...

, of alliance, of commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

, but giving notice of them to the two Houses as far as national interest permit. Treaties which demand any financial burden, or which would alter territorial boundaries of the state, shall not have any effect until the two Houses have consented to them.

The King also appointed the ministers of state, who were solely responsible to him. With time, it became virtually impossible for a Cabinet to stay in office (let alone govern) against the express will of Parliament. As a result, notwithstanding the letter of the Statuto, it became a well-established convention
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

 that ministers were responsible to Parliament. In fact, this convention was so strongly established that in 1925, Mussolini had to pass a law which specifically stated that he was not responsible to Parliament.

Other provisions of note included: Roman Catholicism was the state religion (art. 1); succession to the throne followed the Salic Law
Salic law
Salic law was a body of traditional law codified for governing the Salian Franks in the early Middle Ages during the reign of King Clovis I in the 6th century...

 (art. 2); Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 was the official language, but French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

-speaking deputies might use their own language (art. 62).
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