Of all the issues that have been regarded as necessary to stabilising Italian politics (if not bringing to a close the so-called ‘transition’), following the dramatic upheaval of the 1990s, none has been more important than constitutional and institutional reforms. Yet, the decisive rejection by referendum in June 2006 of a package of proposals designed by the centre-right coalition that would have rewritten most of Part II of the Italian Constitution symbolises the unqualified failure of the political class over a 30-year period to achieve constitutional reform (whilst not overlooking electoral reform which is out of the Constitution). This is not to suggest that Italian institutions remain totally unreformed or unchanged; on the contrary, the principal institutions have all experienced change and piecemeal reform, notably in the past 15 years (see Bull 2004: 553–60; Bull and Newell 2005: ch. 7; Vassallo 2007). However, these changes have never been regarded as sufficient to meet the needs of Italian democracy.