Italian general election, 1861

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Italian general election, 1861
Kingdom of Italy
27 January - 3 February 1861 → 1865

All 443 seats to the Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy
  Majority party Minority party
  Camillo Benso Cavour di Ciseri.jpg Urbano Rattazzi-lookingleft.jpg
Leader Camillo Benso di Cavour Urbano Rattazzi
Party Historical Right Historical Left
Seats won 342 62
Percentage 46.1% 20.4%

Italian Parliament 1861.svg

Composition of the Parliament

Prime Minister before election

none

Subsequent Prime Minister

Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour
Historical Right

General elections were held in Italy on 27 January 1861, with a second round of voting on 3 February.[1] The newly elected Parliament first convened in Turin on 4 March 1861, where it declared the unification of the country as the Kingdom of Italy.[1]

The election was carried out according to the 1848 electoral law of the Kingdom of Sardinia, in which only literate men over the age of 25 and paying a certain level of taxation were allowed to vote.[1] Candidates were elected in single member constituencies, with a second round required in cases when no candidates received over 50% of the vote or the equivalent of one-third of the registered voters in the constituency.[2] The Pope demanded that Catholics did not take part in the elections.[2]

The race[edit]

The Historical Right was led by the former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, a long-time staresman and a leading figure in the movement toward Italian unification.

On the other hand, the bloc of the Historical Left was led by Urbano Rattazzi, a liberal politician who was between the founders of the Italian left-wing parliamentary group.

In opposition to the two main blocs there were a third party known as The Extreme, a far-left coalition, under the leadership of Agostino Bertani, an Italian revolutionary and a key figure of the Unification.

Only 418,696 men of a total population of around 22 million were entitled to vote.[3] Right-wing candidates emerged as the largest bloc in Parliament with around 43% of the 443 seats.[4] They were largely aristocrats representing rentiers from the north of the country, and held moderate political views including loyalty to the crown and low government spending.[5] The right-wing leader Camillo Benso di Cavour was elected as the first Prime Minister in the history of Italy.

Parties and leaders[edit]

Party Ideology Leader
Historical Right Conservatism, Monarchism Camillo Benso di Cavour
Historical Left Liberalism, Centrism Urbano Rattazzi
The Extreme Radicalism, Republicanism Agostino Bertani

Results[edit]

Affiliation Votes % Seats
Historical Right 46.1 342
Historical Left 20.4 62
The Extreme 2.3 14
Independent 3.9 23
Others 27.3
Invalid/blank votes
Total 239,583 100 443
Registered voters/turnout 418,696 57.2
Source: Nohlen & Stöver
Popular vote
Historical Right
  
46.2%
Historical Left
  
20.4%
The Extreme
  
2.3%
Independent
  
3.9%
Others
  
27.3%
Parliamentary seats
Historical Right
  
77.2%
Historical Left
  
14.0%
The Extreme
  
3.1%
Independent
  
5.2%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ a b Nohlen & Stöver, p1039
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1049
  4. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1082
  5. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1028