Keywords: Party Organization; Centre-periphery; Italy; Official Story; Stratarchy.
This article investigates the centre-periphery power relations within Italian political parties in the last twenty years. Following Katz and Mair approach in their study on party organization, the present work relies on the 'official story' of political parties: it analyses the parties' statutes, internal organizational regulations and balance sheets in order to assess the power relations between the centre - the national headquarters - and the local party structures at regional level. The analysis focuses on three crucial domains of the party organization, whose control is critical for the centre to impose its power over the sub-national level. The research demonstrates that Italian parties display a loose top-down hold and they have moved toward a stratarchical pattern. Moreover, Italian parties appear clearly aligned along the left-right continuum with respect to their level of central control.