Italian general election, 1968

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Italian general election, 1968
1963 ←
May 19, 1968 → 1972

All 630 seats in the Italian Chamber of Deputies
316 seats were needed for a majority in the Chamber
315 (of the 322) seats in the Italian Senate
Turnout 92.8%
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Mariano Rumor-1.jpg Luigi Longo 1979.jpg Francesco De Martino.jpg
Leader Mariano Rumor Luigi Longo Francesco De Martino
Party Christian Democracy Communist Party Socialist Party
Leader since 1964 1964 1963
Leader's seat IX - West Veneto IV - Milan XI - Romagna
Last election 260 & 129 seats, 38.3% 166 & 84 seats, 25.3% 87 & 44 seats
Seats won 266 (H)
135 (S)
177 (H)
101 (S)
91 (H)
46 (S)[1]
Seat change Increase9 Increase27 Decrease41
Popular vote 12,441,553 8,557,404 4,605,832
Percentage 39.1% 26.9% 14.5%
Swing Increase0.8% Increase1.6% Decrease6.0%

Italian Election 1968 Province.png

Legislative election results map. Light Blue denotes provinces with a Christian Democratic plurality, Red denotes those with a Communist plurality, Gray denotes those with an Autonomist plurality.

Prime Minister before election

Aldo Moro
Christian Democracy

New Prime Minister

Giovanni Leone
Christian Democracy

General elections were held in Italy on May 19, 1968.[2] Democrazia Cristiana (DC) remained stable around 38% of the votes. They were marked by a victory of the Communist Party (PCI) passing from 25% of 1963 to c. 30% at the Senate, where it presented jointly with the new Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP), which included members of Socialist Party (PSI) which disagreed the latter's alliance with DC. PSIUP gained c. 4.5% at the Chamber. The Socialist Party and the Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI) presented together as the Unified PSI–PSDI, but gained c. 15%, far less than the sum of what the two parties had obtained separatedly in 1963.

Electoral system[edit]

Regional pluralities in Senate

The pure party-list proportional representation had traditionally become the electoral system for the Chamber of Deputies. Italian provinces were united in 32 constituencies, each electing a group of candidates. At constituency level, seats were divided between open lists using the largest remainder method with Imperiali quota. Remaining votes and seats were transferred at national level, where they was divided using the Hare quota, and automatically distributed to best losers into the local lists.

For the Senate, 237 single-seat constituencies were established, even if the assembly had risen to 315 members. The candidates needed a landslide victory of two thirds of votes to be elected, a goal which could be reached only by the German minorities in South Tirol. All remained votes and seats were grouped in party lists and regional constituencies, where a D'Hondt method was used: inside the lists, candidates with the best percentages were elected.

Parties and leaders[edit]

Party Ideology Leader
Christian Democracy (DC) Christian democracy, Popularism Mariano Rumor
Italian Communist Party (PCI) Communism, Marxism-Leninism Luigi Longo
Unified Socialist Party (PSU) Socialism, Social democracy Francesco De Martino
Italian Liberal Party (PLI) Liberalism, Conservatism Giovanni Malagodi
Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP) Socialism, Anti-capitalism Lelio Basso
Italian Social Movement (MSI) Neo-Fascism, Italian nationalism Arturo Michelini
Italian Republican Party (PRI) Social liberalism, Centrism Ugo La Malfa
Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity (PDIUM) Monarchism, Conservatism Alfredo Covelli


The election was a test for the new organization of the socialist area, which was divided between the new revolutionary and Communist-allied Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity and the governmental social-democratic federation between PSI and PSDI. The polls said that the split of the PSIUP in 1964 had not been a purely parliamentary operation, but the reflex of divisions into the leftist electorate. The result shocked the PSI's leadership, causing the sudden sinking of the social-democratic federation, and an alternance of provisional retirements by the government, firstly led by lifetime senator Giovanni Leone and then, through two political crisis, by DC's secretary Mariano Rumor. Unsuccessfully trying to recover its lost leftist electors, the PSI returned to the alliance with the PCI for the regional elections of 1970, so causing another crisis and a new change of premiership, then led by Emilio Colombo, but the government coalition had continuous problems of instability. Influent Giulio Andreotti tried to resurrect the centrist formula in 1972, but he failed, opening the way to the first early election of the republican history.

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Composition of the Chamber of Deputies after the election.
Party Votes % Seats +/–
Christian Democracy 12,437,848 39.12 266 +6
Italian Communist Party 8,551,347 26.90 177 +11
Unified PSI–PSDI 4,603,192 14.48 91 –29
Italian Liberal Party 1,850,650 5.82 31 –8
Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity 1,414,697 4.45 23 New
Italian Social Movement 1,414,036 4.45 24 –3
Italian Republican Party 626,533 1.97 9 +3
Italian Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity 414,507 1.30 6 –2
South Tyrolean People's Party 152,991 0.48 3
Social Democracy 100,212 0.32 0
Democratic Union for the New Republic 63,402 0.20 0
Autonomous Party of Pensioners of Italy 41,416 0.13 0
Valdostan Union 31,557 0.10 0 –1
Others 87,6740 0.28 0
Invalid/blank votes 1,211,216
Total 33,001,644 100 630 0
Registered voters/turnout 35,566,493 92.79
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote

Senate of the Republic[edit]

Composition of the Senate after the election.
Party Votes % Seats +/–
Christian Democracy 10,972,114 38.34 135 +6
PCIPSIUP 8,585,601 30.00 101 +17
Unified PSI–PSDI 4,354,906 15.22 46 –12
Italian Liberal Party 1,943,795 6.79 16 –2
Italian Social Movement 1,304,847 4.56 11 –3
Italian Republican Party 622,388 2.17 2 +2
Italian Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity 312,702 1.09 2
MSIPDIUM 292,349 1.02 0 –1
South Tyrolean People's Party 131,071 0.46 2
Social Democracy 36,073 0.13 0 New
Valdostan Union 28,414 0.10 0
Others 31,761 0.11 0
Invalid/blank votes 2,740,176
Total 30,252,921 100 315 0
Registered voters/turnout 32,517,638 93.04
Source: Ministry of the Interior


  1. ^ In the coalition Unified PSI–PSDI, with the Italian Democratic Socialist Party.
  2. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1048 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7