New Italian electoral law fails
12 June 2017
A new electoral law, agreed on by Italy’s four main parties, was rejected by the chamber of deputies on Thursday after two days of debate.
Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD), Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) and Matteo Salvini’s xenophobic Lega Nord had agreed on a reform of the electoral law the week before. A new electoral law is a precondition for the holding of a new election for the Italian parliament, following the rejection of a constitutional referendum by the electorate last autumn.
The heads of the four parties had agreed to hold the election in September, rather than the original date of May 2018. But due to differences on minor technicalities, the opposition of smaller parties and of MPs fearing to lose their seat, the law was voted down.
A proportional representation system modelled on the German system, including a requirement that parties obtain 5 percent support in order to secure parliamentary representation, was planned. Half of the seats were to be elected in constituencies, while the other half was to be determined on the basis of a party list system.
Matteo Renzi, who resigned his position of prime minister and stepped down as PD chairman after losing the referendum last December, has led the calls for the new electoral law. He was re-elected PD chairman in a ballot in April and intends to return to power as soon as possible.
He won the support of Silvio Berlusconi, who, despite being 80 years of age, continues to play the leading role in Forza Italia. Berlusconi’s extremely weakened party would have little hope under the current majority voting system, so Berlusconi backed Renzi’s proposal for a system based on proportional…