Italy’s constitutional court on Wednesday threw out aspects of an electoral law approved by former prime minister Matteo Renzi but presented a reworked version that can be used immediately, raising the chance of early elections this year. Italy’s largest parties – Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement – are both calling for a vote by the summer, about a year ahead of schedule. The system laid out by the court, which only applies to the lower house Chamber of Deputies, is based on proportional representation and hands a clear parliamentary majority to any party winning 40 percent of the vote.
Both of these aspects were part of Renzi’s law, but the court also said the election should be held in just one round, eliminating the run-off between the two largest parties which Renzi had envisaged if none got 40 percent in the first round.
No opinion polls put any of Italy’s plethora of parties anywhere near 40 percent, meaning the new system will probably lead to a coalition government. That may benefit traditional parties, including the PD, and penalize 5-Star, which has always refused to form alliances.
The court said the amended law could be used immediately if elections were called, even though following its ruling there are now different voting systems in the lower house and the upper house Senate.