Marco Giampieretti

The Constitutional Principle of «Honour» (Article 54, Paragraph 2, Constitution) and Its Prescriptive Effectiveness

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Article 54(2) of the Constitution, by imposing a duty of «honourable» conduct on holders of public office, constitutionalises a principle of political ethics useful to the proper functioning of democracy and essential to the very life of the republic. But what meanings can be attributed to the word «honour» contained in this provision? And what effects can be derived from it in practice? Starting from an etymological analysis of the term aimed at reconstructing the meaning it has taken on in the political Western history, in relation to the social devices of «loyalty» and «trust», an attempt is made to clarify the scope of the constitutional principle of «honour» in the exercise of public functions in order to reduce its vagueness and help guide legislative and interpretative choices in this field. If correctly interpreted and applied, this principle can indeed provide legislators, administrations and judges with a solid theoretical basis for defining a general code of conduct in the public sphere, capable of imposing itself on all representatives of institutions and playing an important role in the fight against corruption.


  • Honour
  • Constitution
  • Constitutional Duties
  • Political Ethics
  • Public Office


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