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The Chamber of Deputies (Italian: Camera dei deputati) is a house of the bicameral Parliament of Italy (the other being the Senate of the Republic). The two houses together form a perfect bicameral system, meaning they perform identical functions, but do so separately. Pursuant to article 56 of the Italian Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies has 630 seats, of which 618 are elected from Italian constituencies, and 12 from Italian citizens living abroad.
Deputies have styled The Honourable (Italian: Onorevole) and meet at Palazzo Montecitorio. The Chamber and the parliamentary system of the Italian Republic and under the previous Kingdom of Italy is a continuation of the traditions and procedures of the Parliament and Chamber of Deputies as established under King Charles Albert (1798–1849), during the Revolutions of 1848, and his son Victor Emmanuel II (1820–1878) of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont which led in the "Italian unification Risorgimento movement" of the 1850s and 1860s, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Count Camillo Benso of Cavour ("Count Cavour").
The seat of the Chamber of Deputies is the Palazzo Montecitorio, where it has met since 1871, shortly after the capital of the Kingdom of Italy was moved to Rome at the successful conclusion of the Italian unification Risorgimento movement.
Previously, the seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy had been briefly at the Palazzo Carignano in Turin (1861–1865) and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (1865–1871). Under the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, the Chamber of Deputies was abolished and replaced by the figurehead Chamber of Fasci and Corporations from 1939 to 1943 (during World War II).
The Chamber is composed of all members meeting in session at the Montecitorio. The assembly also has the right to attend meetings of the Government and its ministers. If required, the Government is obligated to attend the session. Conversely, the Government has the right to be heard every time it requires.
The term of office of the House (as well as the Senate) is five years, but can be extended in two cases:
- The "prorogatio", as provided by art. 61.2 of the Constitution, states that representatives whose term has expired shall continue to exercise their functions until the first meeting of the new Chamber.
- An extension of the term provided for by art. 60.2, can be enacted only in case of war.