Next Italian general election
All 630 seats of the Chamber of Deputies
and all elective 315 seats of the Senate of the Republic
The next Italian general election is due to be held no later than 20 May 2018, that is to say no later than the last Sunday of the seventy days after the natural expiration of the current five-year parliamentary term on 15 March 2018.
At the 2013 general election neither of the two main coalitions, the centre-right led by Silvio Berlusconi and the centre-left led by Pier Luigi Bersani, won an outright majority in Parliament, partly due to the strong showing by the Five Star Movement (M5S).
After a failed attempt by Bersani, then-secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), to form a government during the final days of the first presidential term of Giorgio Napolitano, the re-elected President gave Enrico Letta, Bersani's deputy, the task of forming a grand coalition government. Letta eventually formed a cabinet composed of members of the PD, Berlusconi's The People of Freedom (PdL) – replaced by the New Centre-Right (NCD) in November 2013 –, Civic Choice (SC), the Union of the Centre (UdC), one member of the Italian Radicals and three independents.
Following the election of Matteo Renzi as the new PD secretary in December 2013, there were persistent leadership tensions culminating in Letta's resignation as Prime Minister in February 2014. Renzi subsequently formed a cabinet composed of the same parties who had lately supported Letta, but in a new fashion. The new Prime Minister, who had a strong mandate from his party, was reinforced by two key events: the PD's strong showing in the European Parliament election three months later and the election of Sergio Mattarella, a fellow Democrat, in the 2015 presidential election.
Since 2013 opinion polls (see below) have registered the PD's strength and a growth of the M5S, Lega Nord (LN) and Brothers of Italy (FdI), while emphasizing a decline of Forza Italia (FI) – that is to say the party which replaced the PdL in November 2013, the virtual disappearance of Civic Choice (SC) –, after Mario Monti stepped down as leader, and the replacement of Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) with Italian Left (SI).
A constitutional reform proposed by Renzi's government would have seen the Senate replaced in this election with an indirectly elected body, composed of 100 members: 95 selected from regional councils and 5 appointed by the President. This reform was passed by the Chamber and the Senate, but required approval in a constitutional referendum, and was defeated by a landslide vote in December 2016.
In February 2017 Renzi resigned also from PD secretary in order to run in the 2017 leadership election. Contextually, a large portion of the party's left, led by Enrico Rossi and Roberto Speranza, who were endorsed also by Bersani, left the PD and founded the Democrats and Progressives (DP), along with splinters from SI.
After having won the vote by party members in March with almost 67% of votes, on 30 April, Renzi was re-elected secretary of the party by a landslide with 69.2% of votes; while the other two candidates, Andrea Orlando and Michele Emiliano, received 19.9% and 10.9% of votes.
New electoral system
The electoral system for the Chamber of Deputies was innovated by Law n. 52 of 6 May 2015 (commonly referred to as Italicum), which was later subject to a partial declaration of unconstitutionality by the Constitutional Court in January 2017.
The current electoral system for the Senate of the Republic, on the other hand, is still regulated by Law n. 270 of 21 December 2005, the same that has regulated the previous three general elections. However, the law was judged to be partly unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in December 2013.
Chamber of Deputies
The national territory is divided into 20 electoral districts (each corresponding to a region of Italy), which are further divided into a total of 100 constituencies. Constituencies are single-member in the regions of Aosta Valley and Trentino-South Tyrol, while they are multi-member in the rest of Italy (with about 6 seats each).
Only parties that reach the electoral threshold of 3% of national votes are entitled to take part in the allocation of seats. However, an exception is made for party lists representing protected linguistic minorities in the autonomous regions, which only need to gain at least 20% of the votes cast in the region where they are running.
If a party receives, on its own, at least 40% of the national votes, it is entitled to no fewer than 340 seats. The extra seats are awarded as a majority bonus. (Originally, the law allowed for a second round between the two most voted parties to determine the winner of the majority bonus, in case no single party reached the 40% threshold. This provision has been rendered null and void by a Constitutional Court's judgment.)
Voters can cast up to two preference votes for individual candidates of the list they are voting. If a voter cast two preferences, these must be for candidates of different genders (otherwise the second preference is disregarded). However, the first candidate in the party list of each constituency (called capolista) is always the first to be elected, irrespective of preference votes.
Capolista are the only candidates allowed to run in multiple constituencies (up to 10). If they result elected in respect of more than one constituency, their seat is determined at random. (Originally, the law allowed the capolista to choose their seat. This provision has been rendered null and void by a Constitutional Court's judgment.)
An amendment, known as the "Erasmus amendment", made sure that Italian students studying abroad via the Erasmus Programme can vote.
Twelve seats in the Chamber of Deputies are reserved to the representation of Italians living abroad. These are assigned proportionally based on the vote in the overseas constituencies of Italian Parliament.
Senate of the Republic
The Senate is elected on a regional basis, in accordance with the Constitution. The seats are assigned proportionally to each region according to its population, with the limit that no region can have fewer than seven senators (except for Aosta Valley with 1 and Molise with 2).
The current electoral system for the Senate is based on open list proportional representation. Unlike the system of the Chamber of Deputies, no majority bonus is assigned. (Originally, it was assigned to the winning coalition in each region, but this provision has been rendered null and void by a Constitutional Court's judgment.)
Only parties that reach the electoral threshold of 8% of the regional votes are entitled to take part in the allocation of the regional seats. However, parties can choose to run in coalitions. Parties running in a coalition are entitled to the partition of seats provided the coalition reaches at least 20% of regional votes and at least one party within coalition receives at least 3% of regional votes.
Two regions make exceptions. Aosta Valley elects a single senator with a first past the post system. Trentino-South Tyrol elects seven senators: six are elected in single-member constituencies, while the seventh is assigned to the most underrepresented party based on the regional vote.
Voters can cast a single preference. Unlike the system of the Chamber of Deputies, seats are assigned first based on preferences. (Originally, the electoral system was closed list, with no preferential voting. This provision has been rendered null and void by a Constitutional Court's judgment.)
Six seats in the Senate are reserved to the representation of Italians living abroad. These are assigned proportionally based on the vote in the overseas constituencies of Italian Parliament.
Parties and leaders
This is a list of the main active parties, which would likely participate in the election and are polled in most opinion surveys.
- Art. 60, Constitution of Italy, 22 December 1947 (in Italian). Retrieved on 16 November 2016.
- Art. 61, Constitution of Italy, 22 December 1947 (in Italian). Retrieved on 16 November 2016.
- Dionisi, Brenda (May 9, 2013). "It's a governissimo!". The Florentine. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
- "Renzi: con 47, 8 anni di media, è il governo più giovane di sempre". Corriere Della Sera. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- "Italian parties reach deal on Senate reform". Reuters. June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
- Politi, James (2015-10-13). "Renzi wins Senate victory over Italy’s political gridlock". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
- "Italy’s constitutional reform gets the green light from the Senate, the opposition leaves the floor". il Sole 24 Ore. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
- Italy’s Renzi resigns as Democratic party leader
- Italy’s Renzi Quits as Party Leader, Triggers Re-Election Fight
- Ecco il nome degli ex Pd: Articolo 1 Movimento dei democratici e progressisti
- «Democratici e progressisti» il nuovo nome degli ex Pd. Speranza: lavoro è nostra priorità
- I dati definitivi dei congressi di circolo
- Primarie Pd, Renzi vince nettamente: "Al fianco del governo"
- I dati definitivi delle primarie: Renzi 70%, Orlando 19,5%, Emiliano 10,49%
- Primarie – Partito Democratico
- (in Italian) LEGGE 6 maggio 2015, n. 52
- "Corte Costituzionale".
- "senato.it - Il Senato nel sistema bicamerale - La normativa vigente dopo la legge n. 270 del 2005".