The Italian Electoral law of 2017, colloquially known by the nickname Rosatellum bis or simply Rosatellum, after "Ettore Rosato, the Democratic leader in the "Chamber of Deputies who firstly proposed the new law, is a "parallel voting system, which act as a mixed system, with 37% of seats allocated using a "first past the post electoral system and 61% using a proportional method, with one round of voting. 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 new electoral law was supported by the "Democratic Party and his government ally "Popular Alternative, but also by the opposition parties "Forza Italia, "Lega Nord and "Liberal Popular Alliance. Despite many protests from the "Five Star Movement, the "Democratic and Progressive Movement, "Italian Left and "Brothers of Italy, the electoral law was approved on 12 October by the Chamber of Deputies with 375 votes in favor and 215 against, and on 26 October by the Senate with 214 votes against 61.
The law regulates the election of the "Chamber of Deputies and the "Senate of the Republic, replacing the Porcellum of 2005 and the "Italicum of 2015, both modified by the "Constitutional Court after judging them partly unconstitutional.
As a consequence of the result of the "December 2016 constitutional referendum, in which the abolition of the Senate was rejected, the two chambers of the Italian Parliament ended up with two different electoral laws, which lacked uniformity. As a matter of fact, the electoral law for the Chamber of Deputies passed by Matteo Renzi's government, the so-called Italicum, based 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 Porcellum, the electoral law approved by the cabinet of "Silvio Berlusconi in 2005 and then declared extensively "unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in January 2014) 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.
In June 2017, the Democratic Party together with the Five Star Movement, Forza Italia and Lega Nord agreed on a law, known as Tedeschellum, which was based on a similar system to the one used in "Germany. However, the agreement among the 4 parties did not survive a secrete-ballot vote during the first reading at the Chamber of Deputies and the bill was put aside.
After few weeks "Ettore Rosato, the 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.
A later and revised version of the Rosatellum, known as Rosatellum bis was approved by PD, FI, LN, AP and ALA in October 2017, becoming the new electoral law for both the houses of the Parliament.
The national elections use a "parallel voting system, with 36% of seats allocated using a "first-past-the-post electoral system and 64% using a proportional method, with one round of voting. 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 "Senate of the Republic included 315 elected members, of whom:
The Senate is elected on a single ballot. The ballot includes the district's member, on a purely plurality basis and the parties and party-lists were listed that supported him, which was used to determine the proportional seats, allocated within one single national constituency, with a 3% minimum threshold for party representation.
The "Chamber of Deputies had 630 members, of whom
As the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies is elected on a single ballot.
The complicated mechanism known as "scorporo, which was used to tabulate PR votes in the Mattarellum, was abolished in the new electoral law.
The law also re-introduced a "closed list system for the party lists on the second ballot, i.e., excluding voters from the decision as to which members of that party would enter parliament, thereby guaranteeing reelection of party leaders whose popular support was rapidly declining (new elections were to be held once the new electoral law was fully implemented).
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, which all produce the same outcome:
|Chamber of Deputies||Senate of the Republic|
|"Proportional representation||386||61%||"Proportional representation||193||61%|
|"Overseas constituencies||12||2%||"Overseas constituencies||6||2%|
|"Aosta Valley||1||"Emilia-Romagna||45||"Marche||16||"Trentino-Alto Adige||11|
|"North and Central America||2|
|"Asia, Africa, Oceania and Antartica||1|
|"Aosta Valley||1||"Emilia-Romagna||22||"Marche||8||"Trentino-Alto Adige||7|
|"North and Central America||1|
|"Asia, Africa, Oceania and Antartica||1|
The Italian electoral law of 2015, better known as Italicum, a name given to it in 2014 by the "Democratic Party secretary and subsequently "head of government "Matteo Renzi, who was its main proponent (until the end of January 2015 with the support of "Forza Italia's leader "Silvio Berlusconi) provides for a "two-round system based on "party-list proportional representation (the former being ruled out as unconstitutional), corrected by a "majority bonus and a 3% "election threshold. Candidates run for election in 100 multi-member "constituencies with "open lists, except for a single candidate chosen by each party who is the first to be elected.
The law, which came into force on 1 July 2016, regulates the election of the "Chamber of Deputies, replacing the previous electoral law of 2005, modified by the "Constitutional Court in December 2013 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 "regions, with greatly reduced powers, thus making a reform of its electoral system unnecessary. The upper-house reform, rejected in "the 4 December 2016 Constitutional Referendum, was originally assumed to be adopted without a Referendum by 1 July 2016.
It is the first electoral law, which even if it was approved by the Italian Parliament, it has never been used in a general election.
The electoral law passed by the centre-right government in 2005, 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 Parliament), and 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 "2013 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 December 2013, the "Constitutional Court judged the electoral law of 2005 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.
A few days after, on 8 December 2013, "Matteo Renzi became the new leader of the Democratic Party. 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 the place of Letta 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.
The bill still faced harsh opposition, even by members of the proposing parties: however it was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 12 March 2014 and, in an amended form, by the Senate on 27 January 2015 with the support of a large majority.
After the election of "Sergio Mattarella as the new President of Italy on 31 January 2015, Berlusconi withdrew his support to the bill. In order for it to receive its final approval by the Chamber of Deputies, the government decided to link it to a confidence vote (hinting at a "snap election in case of a negative outcome). The bill was finally approved on 4 May 2015 and signed by President Mattarella two days later.
The Italicum system regulates the attribution of 617 of the 630 seats of the "Chamber of Deputies, excluding 12 seats attributed to representatives of Italians living abroad, and one seat for the "Aosta Valley region. An uncommon feature of this system is that it is majority assuring, thanks to a "jackpot that is assigned to the winning party, possibly after a second electoral round.
The territory of Italy is divided into 100 "constituencies electing between 3 and 9 deputies depending on their size. For each constituency, the parties designate a list of candidates: "head of list" candidates can run in up to 10 constituencies, while other candidates are limited to a single constituency. Gender balance is promoted by requiring that, in each "region, head of lists of either sex for the same party should not exceed 60% of the total; additionally, candidates in all lists must be in a sequence alternating by gender.
At the first round, electors receive a ballot allowing them to vote for a single party and for its head of list candidate (pre-printed on the ballot), and are given the option to express up to two additional "preference votes for other candidates of that party, by writing their name next to the party symbol. If two preference votes are expressed, they must be of a different sex: otherwise, the second preference is discarded.
Only parties passing a 3% minimum threshold in the first round are assigned seats. If the party receiving the plurality of the votes passes a 40% threshold, it is attributed a minimum of 340 seats (54%). The remaining seats are allocated to the other parties in a proportional fashion, and no second round takes place.
If no party has been able to pass the 40% threshold, a second round takes place two weeks after the first one: this time electors receive a ballot where they are allowed to choose between the two parties that received most votes in the first round. The party winning the second round is attributed 340 seats, and the remaining 277 seats are allocated to the other parties in a proportional fashion, according to the results of the first round.
The proportional allocation of seats follows the "largest remainder method. Each party receives a certain number of seats depending on its national result: these seats are then projected onto the 100 constituencies and attributed to the candidates of that constituency, starting from the head of list and then according to the number of preference votes.
An amendment, known as "Erasmus amendment", makes sure Italians studying abroad in the "Erasmus programme can vote.
On February 24, 2016 a court in Messina sent the election law for review to the "Constitutional Court: declaring admissible the application by petitioners, the judges called for the Constitutional Court to decide whether eight out of the petitioners' 13 claims that the Italicum breached the Italian Constitution. The Constitutional Court might still decide that the unconstitutionality hypothesis is not founded, and even refuse to examine it. The court's decision is not expecting until after 2017 January.
A constitutional reform bill passed by the Italian Parliament in April 2016, which is still awaiting popular confirmation by referendum, will require the Constitutional Court to decide on the consititutional legitimacy of the electoral law even if the aforementioned application is rejected. This extraordinary procedure will only take place if the referendum confirms the bill.
The previous electoral law had a series of thresholds to encourage parties to form coalitions. It replaced an "Additional Member electoral system which had been introduced in the 1990s. The attempt to change the law with the referendum failed and was the Constitutional Court, the judgment no. 1 of 2014, to eliminate various unconstitutional elements that were part of the law.
The "block voting system is nationwide-based for the House, and regional-based for the Senate. Italy is divided into a certain number of districts for the Chamber of Deputies, whereas each Region elects its senators. Each district is assigned a number of seats proportionate to its total of the population of Italy. The winning coalition receives at least 55% of the seats on national level in the House, and on regional level in the Senate, while the remaining seats are proportionally divided between minority parties. For the House, seats won by each party are then allocated at district level to decide the elected candidates. Candidates on the lists are ranked in order of priority, so if a party wins for example ten seats, the first ten candidates on its list receive seats in parliament.
The law officially recognized coalitions of parties: to be part of a coalition, a party must sign its official program and indicate its support for the coalition's candidate to the prime-ministership.
For the Chamber of Deputies, Italy is divided into 26 constituencies: "Lombardy has three constituencies, "Piedmont, Veneto, "Lazio, Campania, and "Sicily each have two, and all other "regions have one. These constituencies jointly elect 617 MPs. Additionally one MP is elected from the "Aosta Valley and 12 are elected by a constituency consisting of Italians living abroad. Seats are allocated among the parties that pass thresholds of the total vote on a national basis:
Also, parties representing regional linguistic minorities obtain seats if they receive at least 20% of the ballots in their constituency.
In order to guarantee a working majority, a coalition or party which obtains a "plurality of the vote, but less than 340 seats, is assigned additional seats to reach that number, corresponding roughly to a 54% majority.
Inside each coalition, seats are divided between parties with a "Hare method, and consequently assigned to each constituency to elect single candidates.
For the Senate, the constituencies correspond to the 20 "regions of Italy, with 6 senators allocated for Italians living abroad. The electoral system is partly similar to the one for the lower house, but is in many ways transferred to regional basis. After judgment 1/2014 of the Constitutional Court, the voting system for the Senate aims at party-list proportional representation without majority bonus. The thresholds are different, and applied on a regional basis:
The electoral system for the senate, proportional representation without majority bonus, does not guarantee a clear majority for any party-list in the Senate, unlike the national super-assignment system in the Chamber of Deputies.
The new electoral law has come under wide criticism from the centre-left opposition since its introduction for a series of reasons:
Between 1991 and 1993, resulting from two referendums and legislation, Italian "electoral law was altered substantially. Electoral law in Italy is determined by Parliament, not by the constitution. This, along with the concurrent collapse of the Italian "party system, marks the transition between the First and Second Italian Republics.
The nearly pure "proportional representation system of the First Republic had resulted not only in party fragmentation and therefore governmental instability, but also insulation of the parties from the electorate and civil society. This was known in Italian as partitocrazia, in contrast to democracy, and resulted in corruption and pork-barrel politics. The Italian constitution allows, with substantial hurdles, abrogative referendums, enabling citizens to delete laws or parts of laws passed by Parliament (with exceptions).
A reform movement known as COREL (Committee to Promote Referendums on Elections), led by maverick DC-member "Mario Segni, proposed three referendums, one of which was allowed by the Constitutional Court (at that time packed with members of the PSI and hostile to the movement). The June 1991 referendum therefore asked voters if they wanted to reduce the number of "preferences, from three or four to one, in the Chamber of Deputies, to reduce the abuse of the open-list system by party elites and ensure accurate delegation of parliamentary seats to candidates popular with voters. With 62.5% of the Italian electorate voting, the referendum passed with 95% of those voting in favor. This was seen as a vote against the partitocrazia, which had campaigned against the referendum.
Emboldened by their victory in 1991, and encouraged by the unfolding "Mani pulite scandals and the substantial loss of votes for the traditional parties in the 1992 general elections, the reformers pushed forward with another referendum, abolishing the proportional representation system of the Italian Senate, implicitly supporting a plurality system that would theoretically force parties to come together around two ideological poles, thereby providing governmental stability. This referendum was held in April 1993, and passed with the support of 80% of those voting. This caused the Amato government to collapse three days later. Municipal elections were held in June 1993, further illustrating the lack of legitimacy the sitting parliament held. The President of Italy, "Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, thereupon appointed a "technocratic government, led by former head of the Bank of Italy, "Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, with the sole task of writing a new electoral law.
As it was under no constitutional obligation to enact a purely majoritarian system (nor were they under obligation to promulgate a new electoral law for the Chamber of Deputies), and cognizant of its declining popular support, the sitting parliament enacted a new electoral law in August 1993 that provided for single-member districts while reflecting their own interests. Despite this, many of them would be voted out of office in the national election in March 1994.
The national elections used an "Additional Member System, which in Italy was a mixed system, with 75% of seats allocated using a "First Past the Post electoral system and 25% using a proportional method, with one round of voting. The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies did not differ in the way they allocated the proportional seats, both using the "D'Hondt method of allocating seats.
The "Senate included 315 elected members, of whom:
The Senate was elected on a single ballot. All those votes not contributing to a winning candidate were thrown into a regional pool, where the seats were allocated proportionally. There was no "electoral threshold for the Senate.
The "Italian Chamber of Deputies had 630 members, of whom
The Chamber of Deputies used two ballots. The first ballot elected that district's member, on a purely plurality basis. The second ballot, in which only parties and party-lists were listed, was used to determine the proportional seats, allocated within one single national constituency, with a 4% minimum threshold for party representation.
A complicated mechanism known as "scorporo, a previously unknown word in Italian politics, was used to tabulate PR votes. The number of votes cast for candidates coming in second place on the first ballot (SMD) would be subtracted from the number of votes earned on the second ballot (PR) by the party of the winning candidate in the first ballot. This would be repeated for each single-member district. This was developed – against the overwhelming opinion expressed in the referendums – to dampen the effect of the first-past-the-post system, which it was feared that it might promote the prevalence of one political party, especially parties that were strong in one geographical area.
The law also introduced a "closed list system for the party lists on the second ballot, i.e., excluding voters from the decision as to which members of that party would enter parliament, thereby guaranteeing reelection of party leaders whose popular support was rapidly declining (new elections were to be held once the new electoral law was fully implemented). Ironically, that is what allowed Mario Segni, the leader of the reform movement, to enter parliament on the proportional ballot after the March 1994, elections, having broken with his party in March 1993, and then reunited with one of its shattered remnants that December.
The system did not accomplish the goals desired by the voters. The first parliament elected after the electoral reform produced "Silvio Berlusconi's first government, which lasted eight months. Small parties still enter parliament and form unstable coalitions. On the other hand, political parties in Italy seem to be coalescing around two poles, if imperfectly so, and governments have lasted much longer, at least by Italian standards. On that level, the electoral reform can be seen as an improvement over the electoral law prior to it, even if Italy has now returned to a party-list system.
Between 1946 and 1993, Italy used an electoral system that was a nearly pure proportional representation system, which was subject to two insignificant thresholds:
Furthermore, voters were able to list their preferences for candidates on a party list, in order to prevent the parties from exploiting the power they acquired from being able to write their party lists. In practice, however, parties were able to manipulate these numbers so that preferred members, i.e., members loyal to one faction within a party, could enter parliament.
As neither of these thresholds was difficult to achieve, this system naturally benefitted the small parties. This was exacerbated by the fact that the Lower House has 630 seats. Because of the design of the electoral law did not provide for any mechanism to exclude small parties (indeed, it seemed designed to encourage them) or provide any incentives to avoid splintering, this resulted in highly unstable coalition governments (the average length was nine months) and political turbulence; and because voters had little control over which candidates entered parliament, political parties were insulated from the wishes of civil society. Relations between political elites and the masses therefore became clientelistic; voter behavior and politics in general became a contest as to which party could secure more pork-barrel investment for a specific region. It also allowed politicians to become corrupt.