The italian electoral law saga

By Reuters Staff. Deputies will begin debating the law, which is based on proportional representation, on Tuesday, and party leaders say they hope it can be approved in both houses in early July. In a rare show of unity, all the big parties voiced satisfaction with the system, which is similar to the one used in Germany.

Financial markets remain uneasy over the prospect of an early vote and possibly inconclusive outcome. The spread between Italian benchmark bonds and safer German Bunds closed near recent highs at almost 2 percentage points on Monday and investment fund Pimco said it was selling its Italian bonds due to growing political risk.

Opinion polls suggest no party is likely to win a parliamentary majority at an election and it is also doubtful whether any likely coalition of parties could muster one. President Sergio Mattarella, the only figure with the power to dissolve parliament, is concerned about political instability affecting the budget, a source close to the president has told Reuters. Italy has never held a general election after June. Mattarella had insisted that a new electoral law be drawn up because at present there is too much divergence between the systems for electing members of the two houses of parliament.

The new proportional system, which may still be amended in parliament, would exclude parties that do not reach 5 percent of voting support. As in Germany, voters will be able to express two votes - one for an individual and one for a party list, though unlike in Germany they cannot vote for candidates from different parties.

Markets Updated. By Reuters Staff 3 Min Read.The Italian electoral system The Italian political election gave out a result that is being called "the perfect storm" or the "worst possible scenario" by commentators and the traditional Italian parties themselves. The results have in fact produced an artificial majority in one branch of Parliament Camera and no majority in the other branch Senato.

Follow ItalyHeritage on Facebook. An aberration of the electoral system regulated by the reform a. As a consequence in the Italian elections the Camera has a majority premium assigned to the Centre-Left coalition with Another aberration is that the relative majority coalition obtained the majority premium surpassing the other coalition the Centre-Right led by Silvio Berlusconi of only 0.

The electoral law - The electoral law ofwith minor variations, regulated the Italian general elections until The Deputy Legislative Decree no.

The proportional formula - among the purest in the world - was later devastated by Law no. At that time the amendment was very strongly criticized by the opposition which called it "fraud law", and never had effect since in the next election the government parties failed to achieve the quorum established.

Therefore the majority premium was abolished without ever having been applied, and the Italian electoral system found its final version in the "Testo Unico" no. As for the Senate, election criteria were established by Law no. Also this law had its final completion with the above-mentioned Act of Camera: the seats were divided depending on the population on a national basis among 32 multi-candidate constituencies. The parties had a list of candidates in each constituency, and voters could give as many as four preferences to the candidates of the chosen party.

The allocation of seats was accomplished by a proportional system using the "Imperiali" quotient: the candidates with the highest number of preferences were declared elected. The remnants of seats and votes in this first phase were then grouped into one national constituency, in which seats were assigned proportionally using the Hare quotient and completing the calculation using the highest remainders.

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Senato: the seats were divided on a regional basis, according to Art. Each region was divided into a number of single-candidate constituencies with seats assigned. It was possible for each citizen to form a list collecting a given number of signatures. In the Senate the single candidate in each constituency was chosen by the party, while in the Camera the voters would name their candidates. In following years the 4-preference system in the Camera led to a degeneration, since candidates could make agreements and suggest to their supporting voters other 3 names to add as preferences.

The proportional system remained in force for nearly fifty years, then fell under heavy criticism in the early nineties, as it was considered the main cause of party fragmentation and government instability, and was abolished by the Italians in a referendum on 18 Aprilleaving the field to a new electoral law based mainly on single-candidate constituencies, the "Mattarellum".

The first period, from towas characterized by an increasing concentration on the two major parties DC and PCI. In the second period, ending inthe trend was reversed and a centrifugal tendency favored protest parties radicals and the leagues.

The stability of voting behaviors was reflected in a stability of the party system, with two main parties and a plurality of smaller groups, and a bipolar or tripolar competition, where the area of the center was "condemned" to govern, given the reluctance of voters to side for the extreme wings.

the italian electoral law saga

In the s there was a dominance of a 5-party coalitions; however, the conflicts between the parties began to increase and led to greater competition. The fading away of the communist fears that had rewarded the Christian Democrats in the decades sinceand the economic crisis that led to a growth of the national debt followed by sharp tax increases fostered a widespread discontent with established parties and a rise, especially in Northern Italy, of grass-root leagues which later merged into the Lega Nord.

In the small but influential Radical Party - which in previous years had succeded in introducing divorce and abortion into Italian law through referendums - promoted a referendum against the articles of the constiturion dealing with the electoral law in the Senate. Laws no.This means that parties must submit lists of candidates prior to any elections and seats are allocated in proportion to the number of votes cast for each party.

The party lists for the Regional elections had to be submitted to the election office before midday on Saturday 27th February.

A party worker, Alfredo Milioni, was entrusted with the task of submitting the list. He says that on 27th February he arrived at the electoral office in Rome at around Later he said he had gone to check on his daughter, who was in his car.

Later still he claimed that he went to fetch some important documents and finally that he was physically prevented from entering the building by opposition party members. There have also been suggestions that Mr Milioni was late because there was some last-minute arguing in the Party about candidates. As you can imagine, he was not, and is not, very happy.

It basically says that a list can stand provided officials of the relevant party are in the electoral office at the time of the submission deadline, even if the list is not submitted. President Napolitano has been criticised for signing the decree. He says that he did so to give citizens the opportunity to vote for their chosen parties.

the italian electoral law saga

Renata Polverini can stand for Governor of Lazio as a new ruling is not required for this. Pdl candidates will not be able to stand in Rome and its Province unless the court ruling is overturned. They can stand in the rest of the Lazio Region. Mr Berlusconi has called on his supporters to demonstrate on 20th March.

Opposition supporters have already held national demonstrations on two occasions. Italy's electoral lists saga - a guide Pat Eggleton. Rome Province. Detached House in Gallinaro. Apartment in Arpino. Detached House in Alvito. Detached House in Arpino. Apartment in Alvito. Italian Language Home-Stay. Rocca Priora. Language Schools. Kappa Language School. Centro Linguistico Italiano Dante Alighieri.

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Signup Now.By Reuters Staff. The vote will be held using a new electoral law which was approved by parliament in October. Following is a description of how it works:.

The Italian electoral system

The bill envisages that some 36 percent of parliamentarians in both the upper and lower houses will be elected on a first-past-the-post basis, with the rest chosen by pure proportional representation PR via party lists.

Parties can stand alone or as part of broader coalitions. Single parties need to win at least 3 percent of the vote to gain seats, while coalitions need to take 10 percent. With opinion polls split three ways between the center right, the center left and the maverick 5-Star Movement, there is unlikely to be a clear-cut winner in the election.

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Voters get two voting slips - one for the Senate and one for the lower house. They can only put one cross on each slip, with that vote counted for both the first-past-the-post and PR segments.

Under previous electoral systems, voters were able to split their vote between individual candidates and the parties. Candidates can put their name down for the first-past-the-post ballot in one constituency, and also be on five PR lists in locations of their choosing. There will be two to four names on each party PR list.

The party leaders will have a major say in whose names go on the lists. In the lower house, seats will be reserved for first-past-the-post winners, will be reserved for the PR lists, and 12 will be reserved for overseas constituencies.

In the Senate, seats will go to first-past-the-post winners, will go to the PR lists, and six will be for the overseas vote. No more than 60 percent of the candidates on any of the lists can be of the same sex. Live Coverage Updated. By Reuters Staff 2 Min Read.The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies did not differ in the way they allocated the proportional seats, both using the largest remainder method of allocating seats.

The law regulates the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republicreplacing the Porcellum of and the Italicum ofboth modified by the Constitutional Court after judging them partly unconstitutional. As a consequence of the result of the December constitutional referendumin which the Senate reform was rejected, the two chambers of the Italian Parliament ended up with two different electoral laws, which lacked uniformity.

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As a matter of fact, the electoral law for the Chamber of Deputies passed by Matteo Renzi's government, the so-called Italicumbased on a strong winner-take-all principle, was still in effect, whereas in the Senate a pure proportional system the remnants of the so-called Porcellumthe electoral law approved by the cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi in and then declared extensively unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in January was in force.

The two systems differed on several aspects, among which the possibility of forming coalitions before the elections only allowed at the Senate and the election thresholds.

After few weeks Ettore Rosatothe leader of the group of the Democratic Party at the Chamber of Deputies, proposed a new bill based on a mixed system, with half of the seats allocated using the first-past-the-post and the other half using a proportional allocation.

The bill was not popular in its original version, since several opposition parties considered the number of seats allocated with the FPTP system too high. The national elections use a parallel voting systemwith The Senate of the Republic included elected members, of whom:. The Senate is elected on a single ballot. The Chamber of Deputies had members, of whom.

The complicated mechanism known as scorporowhich was used to tabulate PR votes in the Mattarellumwas abolished in the new electoral law. The law also re-introduced a closed list system for the party lists on the second ballot, i. The voting paper, which is a single one for the first-past-the-post and the proportional systems, shows the names of the candidates to single-member constituencies and, in close conjunction with them, the symbols of the linked lists for the proportional part, each one with a list of the relative candidates.

The voter will be able to cast his vote in three different ways: [12]. In an effort to mitigate fragmentation, split-ticket voting is not allowed. It became law on 26 June It has been called a riformina electoraleor little electoral reform. A constitutional amendment procedure was initiated during the 18th legislature by the Five Stars Movementto cut the size of both houses by more than a third from and members, to and To avoid incompatibility with the proposed amendment, the law adapts the Rosatellum law, and sets fractions for each type of seat proportional or majoritary instead of exact numbers.

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Candidates run for election in multi-member constituencies with open listsexcept for a single candidate chosen by each party who is the first to be elected. The law, which came into force on 1 Julyregulates the election of the Chamber of Deputiesreplacing the previous electoral law ofmodified by the Constitutional Court in December after judging it partly unconstitutional.

The law was written under the assumption that, by the time it came into force, the upper house would have become an indirectly-elected body representing regionswith greatly reduced powers, thus making a reform of its electoral system unnecessary.

The upper-house reform, rejected in the 4 December Constitutional Referendumwas originally assumed to be adopted without a Referendum by 1 July It is the first electoral law approved by the Italian Parliament but never used in a general election.

Italian electoral law of 1993

The electoral law passed by the centre-right government in immediately received widespread criticism: among other things, critics called into question the use of long closed lists of candidates which gave party executives great power in deciding the composition of the Parliamentand the regional mechanism of allocation of seats in the Senate which made the existence of a "clear winner" of the elections less likely.

After two unsuccessful attempts at repealing the law by referendum, in the general election the law failed to produce a majority in the Senate; as a consequence, the only way to form a government was by means of a grand coalition between left-wing and right-wing parties that had harshly fought each other in the election.

The resulting Letta Cabinet was perceived by many people as the second "unelected government" in a row after the Monti Cabinet. While the coalition agreed that a new electoral law was needed, it failed to agree on a specific model. The Democratic Party executive and prime minister Enrico Letta even went as far as requesting that his party vote against a parliamentary initiative by fellow democrat Roberto Giachetti to restore the previous Mattarella law.

This was probably done out of concern that the grand coalition supporting his government would not hold. On 4 Decemberthe Constitutional Court judged the electoral law of partly unconstitutional: in particular, its unlimited majority bonus was repealed. This made an electoral reform ever more urgent, since proportional representation without majoritarian correction is thought to be incompatible with the competitive party system of Italy.

In his victory speech, he vowed to change the electoral law against the risk of " stabilized grand coalitions ". Renzi's initiative ultimately led to him taking Letta's place as the prime minister. Finally, Renzi made a deal with Silvio Berlusconi for a set of institutional reforms, including a new majority-assuring law based on a two-round system, conceived to make the event of a forced Grand Coalition impossible.Between andseveral changes were made by national legislation and popular referenda.

1991 Italian electoral law referendum

Following these changes, on the national level the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate were elected by a combination of proportionality and plurality. Seventy-five percent of the seats in these two chambers were filled from single-member districts by individual candidates who won the largest number of votes in each district. The other 25 percent of the seats were awarded to candidates from party lists on a proportional basis. The number of votes obtained by the winner in single-member districts was fully for senators or partially for deputies subtracted before allocating proportional seats, thus introducing a further element of proportionality.

A new electoral law passed in late overturned this system by restoring full proportional representation.

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However, the law also allocated a number of bonus seats in the Chamber of Deputies to the winning coalition—thus guaranteeing a majority for the victors. In regional elections, voters cast two ballots.

The first is cast in a contest for 80 percent of the seats in the regional councilwhich are awarded on a proportional basis. The second ballot is employed in a plurality vote; the regional coalition that wins a plurality is awarded all the remaining seats as well as the presidency of the regional government.

Split voting is allowed. In provincial elections, only one vote is cast. If a single provincial list wins more than 50 percent of the votes, seats are divided among all the lists according to their proportion of the vote, and the presidency goes to the head of the winning list.

Otherwise, a runoff election must take place between the two most successful lists, with the winner taking 60 percent of the seats.

Italian court to review voting law

A similar system is employed in municipal elections in cities with more than 15, inhabitants. In this case, however, two ballots are cast, one for mayor and one for the council. Split voting is permitted. In smaller cities only one ballot is cast; the winning list is awarded two-thirds of the seats as well as the mayoralty.

The DC, in various alliances with smaller parties of the centre and left, was the dominant governing party, and the principal opposition parties were the PCI and the MSI. The postwar party system described above was radically altered by the fall of communism in the Soviet bloc inby a wave of judicial prosecutions of corrupt officials that involved most Italian political parties, and finally by the electoral reforms of the s.

Thus, the Italian political spectrum, which had previously been dominated by parties of the centre, became polarized between parties of the right and left. The political centre was left to be divided by various short-lived multiparty alliances—for example, at the turn of the 21st century, the centre-right House of Freedoms and the centre-left Olive Tree. In a new centre-left party, known simply as the Democratic Party Partito Democraticoemerged when the DS merged with the centrist Daisy Margherita party.

All citizens 18 years and older may vote. The turnout for elections in Italy is high, often reaching well over 80 percent of the electorate for parliamentary elections. Citizens may also subscribe to national referenda or petitions designed to abrogate a law or an executive order; such a petition must be signed bymembers of the electorate or sponsored by five regional councils.

Abrogative referenda have been used extensively since the s to make possible a wide range of institutional and civic reforms. Abrogative referenda are provided for with regard to all regional legislation, and some regions have a provision for holding ordinary referenda. The constitution also provides that 50, members of the electorate may jointly present a draft bill to parliament.

Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Load Previous Page. The participation of the citizen All citizens 18 years and older may vote. Load Next Page. More About. Britannica Websites.We have seen referenda that have altered the rules, several reforms at the different levels of government, decisions of the Constitutional Court that modified the electoral formula, and so on.

That was only natural. In front of severe institutional and political problems—such as high fragmentation of government coalitions, frequent executive crises and dissolutions of Parliament, etc. With this goal in mind, the Italian legislator has intervened several times at different levels of government, from the municipalities and provinces to the regions and the state.

the italian electoral law saga

But it seems that the way this idea has been put into practice does not really make sense. In this work we aim at answering two specific questions: a How much have political parties influenced these electoral reforms as active actors? In other words, our aim is to understand what role the political parties have played in the electoral reforms that have characterized the Italian experience from to today. Firstly, we present a theoretical analysis on how political parties, electoral rules and form of government relate to each other.

Secondly, we go through the main stages of the reforms at local, regional and state level, focusing on the most important aspects introduced by the legislator with the aim of ensuring government stability. Finally, we verify the importance of the party context in the Italian electoral reforms, from the two perspectives mentioned above.

We may summarize that two main conclusions emerge from this work. Interestingly, they are not predictable.

Italy's electoral lists saga - a guide

The first is that, contrary to what one would expect, the active role played by parties as actors was, to some degree, marginal. As a matter of fact, they have been able to influence only partially the contents of these reforms. The true original pressure towards change derived from the legitimation crisis of the parties themselves—which was fueled also by a wide judicial investigation over corruption activities.

In front of this crisis, a referendum movement entered the scene with the aim of changing radically the electoral system.

the italian electoral law saga

Then, after that, the Parliament had to take into account the decisions of the Constitutional Court, which intervened declaring the constitutional illegitimacy of several aspects of the new laws that had been passed. The Italian legislator has been trying to import, into the Italian system, the most significant aspects of a foreign model: the government stability and strong leadership of Westminster; while, in the meantime, the political arena experienced a process of personalization.

In addition, the idea of concentrating power could be contradictory in itself, especially at regional and state level, where the nature of the legislative competences involved and the possibility of modifying primary legislation entail the need of stricter controls over the decision-making bodies. The use of the legislative function might affect negatively the legitimation of the legal source itself and the representation function of the assemblies.


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