The election was characterized by changes in the electoral law. Even if the general structure remained uncorrupted, the government introduced a superbonus of two thirds of seats in the House for the coalition which would obtain at-large the absolute majority of votes. The change was hugely opposed by the opposition parties as well as the smaller DC coalition partners, which had no realistic chances of success. The new law was called Scam Law by its detractors, including some dissidents of minor government parties who founded special opposition groups to deny the artificial landslide to the Christian Democracy.
The complaint campaign of the oppositions against the Scam Law reached its goal. The government coalition (DC, PSDI, PLI, PRI, SVP, PSAZ) was stopped at an incredible 49.9% of national vote, resulting in the ordinary proportional distribution of the seats. Minor dissident parties resulted determinant for the final result, especially the short-lived National Democratic Alliance. Leading party Christian Democracy did not repeat the extraordinary result of five years before, which had been obtained under special conditions linked to the Cold War, and lost a lot of votes to the right wing, which included resurgent fascist politicians particularly in Southern Italy.
Technically, the government won the election, reaching the majority of seats in both houses. But the frustration for the lack of the expected result caused big problems to the leading coalition. De Gasperi was forced to resign by the Parliament on August 2: the Trentinstatesman consequently retired and died twelve months later. The legislature continued with weak governments, with minor parties refusing institutional responsibilities. Giuseppe Pella rose to power, but fell after five months only, following strong disputes about the status of the Free Territory of Trieste which Pella was claiming. Amintore Fanfani not receiving a vote of confidence, Mario Scelba and Antonio Segni followed with more traditional centrist coalitions supported by PSDI and PLI: under the administration of the first one, the problem of Trieste was closed ceding Koper to Yugoslavia. The parliamentary term was closed by the minority government chaired by Adone Zoli, finishing a legislature which hugely weakened the office of the Prime Minister, held by six different rulers.
^ abDue to impossibility of direct confrontation cause the end of the political alliance which linked the Communists and the Socialists during the previous election of 1948, unofficial swing was calculated using the strength ratio (130:53) between the communist group and the socialist group in the House after the division.