European election results map. Yellow denotes provinces with a Christian Democratic plurality, Red denotes those with a Communist plurality, Brown and Gray and denotes those with an Autonomist plurality.
The pure party-list proportional representation was the traditional electoral system of the Italian Republic since its foundation in 1946, so it had been adopted to elect the Italian representatives to the European Parliament too. Two levels were used: a national level to divide seats between parties, and a constituency level to distribute them between candidates. Italian regions were united in 5 constituencies, each electing a group of deputies. At national level, seats were divided between party lists using the largest remainder method with Hare quota. All seats gained by each party were automatically distributed to their local open lists and their most voted candidates.
For more than 35 years, Italian Communists had thought that their final victory was no more than a matter of time. However, the deindustrialization of Italy during the 80's showed that the time had expired. The decline of the traditional opponents of the Christian Democracy opened the door to new forms of protests: the Green lists and, in Northern Italy, the League.