Italian general election, 1992

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Italian general election, 1992
← 1987 5 April 1992 1994 →

All 630 seats in the Italian Chamber of Deputies
and 315 (of the 325) seats in the Italian Senate
Turnout 87.3%
  First party Second party Third party
  Forlani.jpg Achille Occhetto.jpg Bettino Craxi 2.jpg
Leader Arnaldo Forlani Achille Occhetto Bettino Craxi
Party Christian Democracy Democratic Party of the Left Socialist Party
Leader since 1989 1988 1976
Leader's seat XVIII - Marche XX - Latium III - Milan
Last election 234 & 125 seats, 34.3% 149 & 75,[1] inside PCI 94 & 43 seats, 14.3%
Seats won 206 (H)
107 (S)
107 (H)
66 (S)
92 (H)
49 (S)
Seat change Decrease46 Decrease51 Increase4
Popular vote 11,637,569 6,317,962 5,343,808
Percentage 29.7% 16.1% 13.6%
Swing Decrease4.6% Decrease6.6%[2] Decrease0.7%

Italian Election 1992 Province.png
Legislative election results map. Light Blue denotes provinces with a Christian Democratic plurality, Red denotes those with a Democratic Socialist plurality, Green denotes those with a Lega Nord plurality, Gray and Brown denotes those with a Regionalist plurality.

Prime Minister before election

Giulio Andreotti
Christian Democracy

Elected Prime Minister

Giuliano Amato
Socialist Party

General elections were held in Italy on April 5, 1992 for the 11th Parliament of the Republic.[3] They were the first without the traditionally second most important political force in Italian politics, the Italian Communist Party (PCI), which had been disbanded in 1991. It was replaced by a more social-democratic oriented force, the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), and by a minority entity formed by members who did not want to renounce the communist tradition, the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC). However, put together they gained around 4% less than what the already declining PCI had obtained in the 1987 Italian general election, despite PRC had absorbed the disbanded Proletarian Democracy (DP).

The other major feature was the sudden rise of the federalist Lega Nord, which increased its vote from 0.5% of the preceding elections to more than 8%, increasing from a single member both in the Chamber and the Senate to 55 and 25, respectively. The onda lunga ("long wave") of Bettino Craxi's now centrist-oriented Italian Socialist Party, which in the past elections had been forecast next to overcome PCI, seemed to stop. Christian Democracy and the other traditional government parties, with the exception of the Republicans and the Liberals, also experienced a slight decrease in their vote.

Electoral system[edit]

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. The remaining votes and seats were transferred at national level, where they were 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.

Historical background[edit]

In 1991 the Italian Communist Party split into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), led by Achille Occhetto, and the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), headed by Armando Cossutta. Occhetto, leader of the PCI since 1988, stunned the party faithfully assembled in a working-class section of Bologna with a speech heralding the end of communism, a move now referred to in Italian politics as the svolta della Bolognina (Bolognina turning point). The collapse of the communist governments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had convinced Occhetto that the era of Eurocommunism was over, and he transformed the PCI into a progressive left-wing party, the PDS. Cossutta and a third of the PCI membership refused to join the PDS, and instead founded the Communist Refoundation Party.[4]

On 17 February 1992, judge Antonio Di Pietro had Mario Chiesa, a member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), arrested for accepting a bribe from a Milan cleaning firm. The Italian Socialist Party distanced themselves from Chiesa. Bettino Craxi called Mario Chiesa mariuolo, or "villain", a "wild splinter" of the otherwise clean PSI. Upset over this treatment by his former colleagues, Chiesa began to give information about corruption implicating his colleagues. This marked the beginning of the Mani pulite investigation; news of political corruption began spreading in the press.

Umberto Bossi at the first Lega Nord rally in Pontida, 1990.

In February 1991, Lega Nord, which was first launched as an upgrade of Alleanza Nord in December 1989, was officially transformed into a party through the merger of various regional parties, notably including Lega Lombarda and Liga Veneta, under the leadership of Umberto Bossi. These continue to exist as "national sections" of the federal party, which presents itself in regional and local contests as "Lega Lombarda–Lega Nord", "Liga Veneta–Lega Nord", "Lega Nord–Piemont", and so on.[5][6][7]

The League exploited resentment against Rome's centralism (with the famous slogan Roma ladrona, which loosely means "Rome big thief") and the Italian government, common in northern Italy as many northerners felt that the government wasted resources collected mostly from northerners' taxes.[8] Cultural influences from bordering countries in the North and resentment against illegal immigrants were also exploited. The party's electoral successes began roughly at a time when public disillusionment with the established political parties was at its height. The Tangentopoli corruption scandals, which invested most of the established parties, were unveiled from 1992 on.[6][7] However, contrarily to what many pundits observed at the beginning of the 1990s, Lega Nord became a stable political force and it is by far the oldest party among those represented in the Italian Parliament.

Lega Nord's first electoral breakthrough was at the 1990 regional elections, but it was with the 1992 general election that the party emerged as a leading political actor. Having gained 8.7% of the vote, 56 deputies and 26 senators,[9] it became the fourth largest party of the country and within Parliament.

Parties and leaders[edit]

Party Ideology Leader
Christian Democracy (DC) Christian democracy Arnaldo Forlani
Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) Democratic socialism Achille Occhetto
Italian Socialist Party (PSI) Social democracy Bettino Craxi
Lega Nord (LN) Regionalism Umberto Bossi
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) Communism Sergio Garavini
Italian Social Movement (MSI) Neo-fascism Gianfranco Fini
Italian Republican Party (PRI) Social liberalism Giorgio La Malfa
Italian Liberal Party (PLI) Conservative liberalism Renato Altissimo
Federation of the Greens (FdV) Green politics Carlo Ripa di Meana
Italian Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI) Social democracy Franco Nicolazzi
The Network (LR) Anti-corruption Leoluca Orlando
Pannella List (LP) Progressivism Marco Pannella


Regional pluralities in Senate

The Christian Democracy (DC) party lost many votes, but its coalition prior to the elections managed to keep a small majority, while opposition parties gained votes. However the largest opposition party Italian Communist Party split after the fall of the Soviet Union and there was no opposition leadership. Many votes went to Lega Nord, a party that was not inclined to alliances at the time. The resulting parliament was therefore weak and difficult to bring to an agreement, and new elections arrived as soon as 1994.

Fundamental to this exponential expansion was the general attitude of the main politicians to drop support for minor politicians who got caught; this made many of them feel betrayed, and they often implicated many other politicians, who in turn would implicate even more. On 2 September 1992, the Socialist politician Sergio Moroni, charged with corruption, committed suicide. He left a letter pleading guilty, declaring that crimes were not for his personal gain but for the party's benefit, and accused the financing system of all parties.

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Summary of the 5 April 1992 Chamber of Deputies election results
Italian Chamber of Deputies, 1992.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Christian Democracy 11,640,265 29.66 206 −28
Democratic Party of the Left 6,321,084 16.11 107 −70
Italian Socialist Party 5,343,930 13.62 92 −2
Lega Nord 3,396,012 8.65 55 +54
Communist Refoundation Party 2,204,641 5.62 35 New
Italian Social Movement 2,107,037 5.37 34 −1
Italian Republican Party 1,722,465 4.39 27 +6
Italian Liberal Party 1,121,264 2.86 17 +6
Federation of the Greens 1,093,995 2.79 16 +3
Italian Democratic Socialist Party 1,064,647 2.71 16 −1
The Network 730,171 1.86 12 New
Pannella List 485,694 1.24 7 −6
Yes Referendum 319,812 0.81 0 New
Pensioners' Party 246,379 0.63 0 New
Other Leagues 220,559 0.56 0 New
South Tyrolean People's Party 198,447 0.51 3 ±0
Hunting, Fishing, Environment 192,799 0.49 0 ±0
Federalism–Pensioners Living Men
154,621 0.39 1 New
Lega Autonomia Veneta 152,301 0.39 1 New
Housewives–Pensioners League 133,717 0.34 0 New
Autonomist Lists 94,583 0.24 0 ±0
Southern Action League 53,759 0.14 0 New
Autonomous Veneto 49,035 0.12 0 New
Federalist Greens 42,647 0.11 0 New
Aosta Valley coalition 41,404 0.11 1 ±0
Others 116,007 0.30 0 ±0
Invalid/blank votes 2,232,489
Total 41,479,764 100 630 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 47,486,964 87.35
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote

Senate of the Republic[edit]

Summary of the 5 April 1992 Senate of the Republic election results
Italian Senate, 1992.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Christian Democracy 9,088,494 27.27 107 −18
Democratic Party of the Left 5,682,888 17.05 64 −37
Italian Socialist Party 4,523,873 13.57 49 +13
Lega Nord 2,732,461 8.20 25 +24
Communist Refoundation Party 2,171,950 6.52 20 New
Italian Social Movement 2,171,215 6.51 16 ±0
Italian Republican Party 1,565,142 4.70 10 +2
Federation of the Greens 1,027,303 3.08 4 +3
Italian Liberal Party 939,159 2.82 4 +1
Italian Democratic Socialist Party 853,895 2.56 3 −2
Yes Referendum 332,318 1.00 0 New
The Network 239,868 0.72 3 New
Pensioners' Party 215,889 0.65 0 New
Federalism–Pensioners Living Men
174,713 0.52 1 New
South Tyrolean People's Party 168,113 0.50 3 +1
Pannella List 166,708 0.50 0 −3
For Calabria 143,976 0.43 2 New
Lega Autonomia Veneta 142,446 0.43 1 New
Housewives-Pensioners League 134,327 0.40 0 New
Lega Alpina Lumbarda 119,153 0.36 1 New
Hunting, Fishing, Environment 116,395 0.35 0 ±0
Autonomist Lists 95,687 0.29 0 ±0
Autonomous Veneto 50,938 0.15 0 New
Southern Action League 49,769 0.15 0 New
For Molise 48,352 0.15 1 New
Federalist Greens 47,051 0.14 0 New
Aosta Valley coalition 34,150 0.10 1 ±0
Others 151,170 0.45 0 ±0
Invalid/blank votes 2,409,646
Total 35,651,621 100 315 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 41,022,758 86.9
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote


  1. ^ Members of PDS parliamentary groups after the disbandment of the Communist Party.
  2. ^ Due to impossibility of direct confrontation cause the disbandment of the Communist Party, the percentage refers to the empiric sum of PDS and PRC in 1992, and the result of PCI and DP in 1987.
  3. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1048 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  4. ^ Kertzer, David I. (1998). Politics and Symbols: The Italian Communist Party and the Fall of Communism. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-07724-7. 
  5. ^ Ignazi, Pietro (2008). Partiti politici in Italia. Bologna: Il Mulino. p. 88. 
  6. ^ a b Ginsborg, Paul (1996). L'Italia del tempo presente. Turin: Einaudi. pp. 336–337, 534–535. 
  7. ^ a b Galli, Giorgio (2001). I partiti politici italiani. Milan: BUR. pp. 379–380, 384. 
  8. ^ Rumiz, Paolo (2001). La secessione leggera. Dove nasce la rabbia del profondo Nord. Milan: Feltrinelli. pp. 10–13. 
  9. ^ Parenzo, David; Romano, Davide (2009). Romanzo padano. Da Bossi a Bossi. Storia della Lega. Milan: Sperling & Kupfer. pp. 263–266. 

External links[edit]