Italy’s politics is currently paralysed. Since the resignation of PM Matteo Renzi last December, the majority of the population and most political parties want an election, even though one is not scheduled to occur until next year. The country is now on its fourth consecutive unelected PM, Paolo Gentiloni. As he leads the government Renzi remains behind the scenes, calling the shots for his party and itching to get back into power. Yet an early election cannot occur immediately, nor can electoral reform happen overnight. It is a debate Italians and Canadians are quite familiar with. Italy has seen such proceedings, on and off, for more than two decades. The numerous reforms that have emerged from this debate demonstrate perfectly the various tradeoffs that electoral reform entails, and illustrate the idea that no electoral system is perfect.
Articles about voting issues in the Italian Republic.
Italian voters have rejected the populist 5-Star Movement in mayoral elections, favoring established center-left and center-right tickets, but its leader vowed Monday to press on until national power is achieved. With a majority of ballots counted from elections a day earlier in some 1,000 small cities and towns, the 5-Star Movement had imploded in all big races, including in Genoa, home of its leader and founder, comic Beppe Grillo. Voters thrashed the anti-euro movement, which bills itself as anti-establishment since supporters’ online selections generally determine their slate of candidates.
Italy will not hold elections until the natural end of the legislature in spring next year, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who leads the ruling Democratic Party (PD), said on Saturday. Renzi said he saw little hope of reforming the electoral system after a deal between the four largest parties broke down this week, meaning Italy will probably vote with a system considered inefficient and unlikely to produce a majority. In an interview with daily Corriere della Sera, Renzi denied that he wanted to go to the polls this autumn, as was widely believed, and when asked when he expected the election he replied: “in 2018, at the end of the legislature.”
A deal between Italy’s main political parties on electoral reform unraveled on Thursday, leading to calls for a snap election that could usher in more instability in the euro zone’s third largest economy. Two major opposition parties, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing Northern League called for an immediate vote, and the ruling Democratic Party (PD) said it now seemed hard for the government to carry on. An accord in favor of a proportional representation voting system based on the German model collapsed after the PD lost a parliamentary vote on a minor, proposed amendment.
The path is beginning to clear for Italians to head back to the polls as the country’s main political parties near a deal on a new electoral law. Italy’s biggest parties are considering a proportional system similar to the German model with a 5 percent cut-off for smaller parties, and lawmakers are due to discuss a first draft of the new law early next month. An agreement would remove any hindrance to snap elections, eliminating the need to wait for scheduled elections in early 2018. “Momentum is building among political leaders and is pushing towards early elections but it will be an uphill battle against the President and parts of the rank-and-file in the parliament,” Giovanni Orsina, a professor of government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University said in a phone interview.
Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Tuesday that Italy’s largest parties agree on the need for a proportional representation electoral system and that a law to adapt it should be enacted in the first week of July. Renzi’s confirmation of the position of the ruling center-left Democratic Party (PD), of which he is head, raised the chances of an early national election before one is due to be held in May 2018, political commentators said. Some commentators said an approval of a new electoral law in early July would raise the chances of an unprecedented autumn parliamentary vote, perhaps as early as September. Italy has never had a parliamentary election later than June.
Matteo Renzi’s chances of recapturing the Italian prime minister’s office this year may be slipping away. His push for early elections has triggered so much dissent within his own party that he may have to wait until next year for a comeback attempt. The ex-premier’s Democratic Party, the biggest force in parliament, holds a meeting of its leaders in Rome on Monday. They’ll decide whether to seek national elections this year, or wait until a vote scheduled for early 2018. Should Renzi prevail on Monday, there is the prospect of yet another European election alongside Germany, France and the Netherlands this year. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which wants a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro area, is keen to exploit its standing in opinion polls that show it neck and neck with the Democratic Party.
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.
After prime minister Matteo Renzi’s crushing defeat in last weekend’s constitutional referendum, Italy has been thrown into political crisis. President Sergio Mattarella may appoint a caretaker government in the next few days. But a general election seems inevitable, as the only way to resolve the impasse in the longer term. The populist, anti-euro Five Star Movement led by the comedian Beppe Grillo is running neck and neck in the opinion polls with Mr Renzi’s Democratic party. Under an electoral law known as Italicum that came into force in July and under which the next general election is set to be held, Five Star could form a majority single-party government if it wins a certain share of votes. That prospect frightens Italy’s political establishment. Five Star aims to bring Italy out of the euro. Whatever one’s views on the single currency, such a development would be destabilising for Italy and the eurozone. Italy has chronically weak banks and an underperforming economy and a period of upheaval as it changed currency would make matters worse.
Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella wants parliament to draft a new electoral law before any ballot is held, a source close to the president said on Tuesday, a move likely to delay any vote after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns. Renzi said he would step down after losing a referendum on constitutional reform on Sunday, but Mattarella asked him to stay on until parliament passes the 2017 budget, a vote scheduled for Wednesday. The next parliamentary election is not scheduled until 2018 but on Tuesday there was growing consensus among party leaders for it to be held a year earlier. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the vote should be held in February. Senior members of Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the referendum defeat and the party’s future strategy.