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Elezioni Comites

 

Elezioni Comites

ELECTIONS OF THE COMITES OF ITALIAN CITIZENS RESIDING ABROAD

Members of the COMITES are elected on the basis of lists of candidates supported by Italian citizens residing in each consular jurisdiction.

Adult Italian citizens residing abroad and registered in the electoral lists, may vote by absentee ballot (according to the system authorized by Law no. 459/2001), and no longer need to go to the polls in person as previously required.

In order to permit citizens to make use of the absentee ballot, the consular office must send an envelope, in due time according to the law, containing all the electoral correspondence and an information sheet to facilitate the voting process.

Carefully following the instructions, the citizen completes the ballot and returns it to his consular office by post, using the pre-stamped envelope. The envelope must be returned as quickly as possible.

 

COMMITTEES OF ITALIANS ABROAD (COM.IT.ES.)

Instituted by Law no. 205/1985, the Com.It.Es. are representative bodies for Italian communities elected directly by Italians residing abroad in every Consular jurisdiction where there are over 3,000 Italian nationals; in fact, wherever there are at least 3,000 Italian citizens, the Committees can be appointed by the diplomatic-consular authorities.

Com.it.Es regulations were heavily amended by Law of 26 October 2003, No. 286 and by Presidential Decree of 29 December 2003, No. 395 (Implementation Regulation). Among the many changes was the introduction of the absentee ballot in Committee elections; the law refers to the procedure foreseen by the Law of 27 December 201 No. 459: the electoral base is the same as that foreseen for the election of national parliamentary representatives.

The Com.It.Es are made up of 12 or 18 members, depending on whether they are elected in consular jurisdictions with more or less than 100,000 Italian nationals residing, which result as being on the updated list used to elect national parliamentary representatives. Once elected, the Committee can then decide to co-opt 4 to 6 of its members who are foreign citizens of Italian origin.

Art. 1 paragraph 2 of Law 286/2003 represents a truly new perspective, defining the Com.It.Es. for the first time as "bodies representative of Italians abroad in their relations with the diplomatic-consular representations". Their role is thus enhanced with regard to the society of which they are an expression as well as with regard to the consular authorities. The new law emphasises the close relationship of collaboration and cooperation that should exist between consular authorities and the Committees, also by means of the "steady flow of information".

As regards their function, the Com.It.Es contribute to studyies and research and defining the needs implied by the social, cultural and civil development of their reference communities; particular attention is given to young people, equal opportunity, social and scholastic assistance, professional training, the recreational sector, sport and leisure activities.

The Committees are also called upon to cooperate with the consular authorities in the protection of the rights and interests of Italian citizens residing in the consular jurisdiction. Following the March 2004 elections there are now 126 Com.It.Es operating in 38 countries: 69 of these are in Europe, 23 in Latin America, 4 in Central American, 16 in North America, 7 in Asia and 7 in Africa.


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