Italian general election, 1904

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Italian general election, 1904
Kingdom of Italy
1900 ←
6–13 November 1904 → 1909

All 508 seats to the Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Giovanni Giolitti.jpg Turati.jpg Tommaso Tittoni 01.jpg
Leader Giovanni Giolitti Filippo Turati Tommaso Tittoni
Party Historical Left Socialist Party Historical Right
Seats won 339 29 76
Seat change Increase43 Decrease4 Decrease40
Popular vote 777,345 326,016 212,584
Percentage 50.9% 21.3% 13.9%
Swing Decrease1.4% Increase8.3% Decrease7.5%

Prime Minister before election

Giovanni Giolitti
Historical Left

Elected Prime Minister

Giovanni Giolitti
Historical Left

General elections were held in Italy on 6 November 1904, with a second round of voting on 13 November.[1] The "ministerial" left-wing bloc remained the largest in Parliament, winning 339 of the 508 seats.[2] The papal ban on Catholics voting was relaxed for the first time, and three Catholics were elected.[3]

Electoral system[edit]

The election was held using 508 single-member constituencies. However, prior to the election the electoral law was amended so that candidates needed only an absolute majority of votes to win their constituency, abolishing the second requirement of receiving the votes of at least one-sixth of registered voters.[4]

Historical background[edit]

After Giuseppe Saracco resignation as Prime Minister, Giuseppe Zanardelli was appointed as new head of the government; but he was unable to achieve much during his last term of office, as his health was greatly impaired. His Divorce Bill, although voted in the Chamber of Deputies, had to be withdrawn on account of the strong opposition of the country. He retired from the administration on 21 November 1903.

The long-time liberal leader Giovanni Giolitti succeeded to Zanardelli. He courted the left and labour unions with social legislation, including subsidies for low-income housing, preferential government contracts for worker cooperatives, and old age and disability pensions. However, he, too, had to resort to strong measures in repressing some serious disorders in various parts of Italy, and thus he lost the favour of the Socialists.

Parties and leaders[edit]

Party Ideology Leader
Historical Left Liberalism, Centrism Giovanni Giolitti
Italian Socialist Party Socialism, Revolutionary socialism Filippo Turati
Historical Right Conservatism, Monarchism Tommaso Tittoni
Radical Party Radicalism, Republicanism Ettore Sacchi
Italian Republican Party Republicanism, Radicalism Napoleone Colajanni
Catholic Electoral Union Clericalism, Christian democracy Ottorino Gentiloni


Summary of November 1904 Chamber of Deputies election results
Italian Parliament 1904.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Historical Left 777,345 50.9 339 +43
Italian Socialist Party 326,016 21.3 29 −4
Historical Right 212,584 13.9 76 −40
Radical Party 128,002 8.4 37 +3
Italian Republican Party 75,225 4.9 24 −5
Catholic Electoral Union 8,008 0.5 3 New
Invalid/blank votes 66,706
Total 1,593,886 100 508 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 2,541,327 62.7
Source: Nohlen & Stöver
Popular vote


  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1083
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1031
  4. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1039