Formally called the Italian Republic, Italy is a parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. The president of the Council of Ministers, known as the Prime Minister, exercises the executive power. The Council of Ministers, along with the two houses of Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic) make up the Legislative branch. The president of Italy is elected by the parliament and is the head of state. The president’s roles include commander-in-chief, president of the judiciary, and appointer of the executive.
Italy has an industrial economy that is driven mainly by the production of consumer goods. The northern region of Italy is dominated by industry and private companies while the southern region is mainly agriculturally-based and less-developed. Still, in 2009 Italy had the 7th largest economy (based on nominal GDP) in the world. Italy also had the 8th highest quality of life in 2008 according to The Economist. Tourism is quickly growing to be one of the most profitable sectors of Italy’s economy.