Next Italian general election
The next Italian general election is due to be held no later than 23 May 2018 and will be called following the dissolution or expiry of the term started on 29 April 2013.
Under the current Constitution, voters would elect 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 315 members of the Senate of the Republic for the 18th Parliament, but a constitutional reform proposed by the government would see 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 has been already passed by the Chamber and Senate, but requires approval in the 2016 constitutional referendum before it enters into effect.
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 elections 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 and Brothers of Italy, while emphasizing a decline of Forza Italia (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 with Italian Left and NCD–UdC with Popular Area.
New electoral system
According to this new system, parties are not allowed to team up or form coalitions. A run-off ballot between the two largest parties decides which party gets a majority bonus, which should make sure the winning party's leader becomes prime minister with a governing majority. The majority bonus is assigned without a run-off only if the largest party reaches 40% in the first round. The country is divided into 20 electoral districts and these are subdivided into a total of 100 constituencies, each electing about 6 deputies. Voters can pick up a party list as well as the candidates, but not the ones at the top of the slates, who are automatically elected if their party wins a seat in their constituency. Each party must present its list in alternating gender order, and voter preferences must be given to a man and a woman in the interests of gender equity. An amendment, known as the "Erasmus amendment", made sure that Italian students studying abroad via the Erasmus Programme can vote.
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.
- Italian Constitution, Art.61
- "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". Italy’s constitutional reform gets the green light from the Senate, the opposition leaves the floor. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
- 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.
- Major election reform in Italy as parliament approves new law. The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2015.