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The Italian Senate (Senato della Repubblica, 'Senate of the Republic') is the upper house of the Parliament of Italy. It was established in its current form on 8 May 1948, but it existed during the monarchy as Senato del Regno, ('Senate of the Kingdom'), continuing from the Subalpine Parliament of Piedmont established on 8 May 1848.
The Senate consists of 315 elected members (''senatori''), elected for a maximum of 5 years, of whom six represent Italians residing overseas. Senators must be 40 or older, and are elected by citizens 25 years of age or over. According to special constitutional provisions, 'life senators' may exist, either former presidents, as ''ex officio'' life senators, or those appointed by the president "for outstanding merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field". , there are seven life senators: Francesco Cossiga (former President), Oscar Luigi Scalfaro (former President), Giulio Andreotti (former Prime Minister), Rita Levi Montalcini (Nobel Prize winner for Medicine 1986), Emilio Colombo (former Prime Minister), Sergio Pininfarina (Designer), Carlo Azeglio Ciampi (former President). Giorgio Napolitano (former President of the Chamber of Deputies and former leader of the Communist Party), currently President of the Republic, is no longer a member of the Senate, and will be able to resume his duties as a senator in 2013 at the earliest.
Senate members meet at the Palazzo Madama in Rome.
The Senate may be dissolved before the expiration of its normal term by the President of the Republic, when no government can obtain a majority.
Under the current Constitution, the Senate must hold its first sitting no later than 20 days after a general election. That session, presided by the oldest senator, proceeds to elect the President of the Senate for the following parliamentary period. On the first two attempts at voting, an absolute majority of all senators is needed; if a third round is needed, a candidate can be elected by an absolute majority of the senators present and voting. If this third round fails to produce a winner, a final ballot is held between the two senators with the highest votes in the previous ballot. In the case of a tie, the elder senator is deemed the winner.
In addition to overseeing the business of the chamber, chairing and regulating debates, deciding whether motions and bills are admissible, representing the Senate, etc., the President of the Senate stands in for the President of the Republic when the president is unable to perform the duties of the office. The current President of the Senate (since 29 April 2008) is Renato Schifani.
Kingdom of Sardinia (1848-1860)
Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946)
===National Consult (1945-1946)===
===Constituent Assembly (1946-1948)===
Italian Republic (1948-)