Italy, 2018

It is 4 March, and in addition to El Salvador, Italy has its election today.

It is especially interesting in that it is the first election under (yet again) a new electoral system. This system is MMM, although quite different from the MMM system in place for a few elections in the 1990s and early 2000s. Details of the system were discussed in an earlier thread. I offer this one for further discussion, in particular of the results as they come in.

10 thoughts on “Italy, 2018

  1. The Italian Chamber of Deputies website has a wealth of information here about the new electoral system, including notional results of the 2013 general election under the new system, and detailed region-by-region maps of the new single-member constituencies. Interestingly enough, the number of Chamber single-member districts (232) is identical to the number of single-member constituencies for the Senate under the 1993-2005 “Mattarellum” system, and this is not a coincidence: the 1993 Senate constituencies served as the basis for the new Chamber constituencies, although there have been a number of changes due to demographic shifts since then (and also because the Senate’s minimum of seven seats per region does not apply to the Chamber). Meanwhile, the new Senate single-member constituencies are usually (but not always) composed of two contiguous Chamber single-member constituencies.

    More about the 2013 notional results later.


  2. Here’s a Sky News projection of the final results

    M5S 234/115
    Lega 122/55
    PD 100/50
    FI 96/53
    Brothers of Italy (right) 32/20
    Free and Equal (left) 15/8
    Other Centre-Left 8/4
    With Italy (centrist) 5/3

    Majority 316/158


    • That assumes the Lega will break its pre-election alliance. That’s possible, but difficult, given some of its single-seat district candidates will have won due to votes of its partners, and its own voters likewise will have helped elect candidates of its partners.

      And that is assume they could actually agree on a program, which would not be at all easy.


      • Off the top of my head, I can’t recall a single instance in the last quarter-century in which an Italian party represented in Parliament broke a pre-election alliance right after a general election. That said, I wouldn’t rule out an agreement between the Five Star Movement and the League, but if history is any indication, that would come to pass further down the line: for the time being, the League will in all likelihood stick with Il Cavaliere and his party.


  3. The split of single-member constituencies among the blocs seems to follow quite closely the seat-vote equation of FPTP, would you have expected that in this unique no-ticket-splitting MMM system? Or does the equation simply not apply in the nominal tier of MMM or MMP because the assumptions that are used in deriving the equation don’t hold?


  4. Wikipedia is beginning to post the constituency results, which they label “first past the post” (it should be single member plurality, or constituency). It is true that the Lega contested these seats in alliance, which would mean breaking the alliance problematic.

    Anyway, there is no further breakdown of the constituency seats by party, but as of March 6th Wikipedia has the totals as:

    Lega/ Forza etc. 109
    M*5 88
    PD etc. 24

    If there were no proportional element, and the campaign, alliances, and constituency results remained the same for some reason, the Lega/ Forza block could in fact form a government if they could convince the two Tyrolese deputies to defect from the PD.

    I’m thinking now that we are looking at a minority Lega government that would take advantage of the PD really not wanting another election and M*5 not being in shape yet to either govern or fight two elections in one year. This would be the case even though the proportional element means that Lega and Forza together will not be close to a majority in the actual parliament.


    • Not quite. The Wikipedia figures – which come from the Interior Ministry – do not include ten seats with twenty-six outstanding polling stations, located in or around Rome. Of the ten outstanding seats, the center-right is leading in two, while the Five Star Movement and the center-left are each ahead in four. If the results hold, the center-right would have 111 seats, the Five Star Movement 92 and the center-left 28. In fact, these are the SMD seat totals reported by ANSA on its website. Moreover, the Five Star Movement captured Valle d’Aosta’s sole seat with 24.1% of the vote, which would bring the party’s SMD seat total to 93, leaving the center-right well short of a majority even among the plurality seats; Valle d’Aosta is reported separately from the rest of Italy as that region has always been represented by a single deputy elected by FPTP, and therefore has never taken part in the distribution of PR list seats under successive electoral systems.

      At any rate, the South Tyrol People’s Party (SVP) usually aligns with the center-left because of the difficulties they’ve faced in the past with the nationwide right-wing parties, which have not been beneath stoking the flames of ethnic discord in Bolzano (Südtirol) province for their own gain. To make a long story short, while the province is predominantly German-speaking, the provincial capital (Bolzano/Bozen) is overwhelmingly Italian-speaking, and became a stronghold of the neo-fascist MSI in the late nineteen eighties. MSI eventually became the National Alliance, which lined up behind Silvio Berlusconi, who in turn took their side concerning the local dispute with the German speakers. Most of the latter would probably prefer that South Tyrol rejoined Austria, but that’s not likely to happen for the foreseeable future, and for the time being they appear to be satisfied with the extensive devolution they’ve been granted by Rome. Moreover, the old border controversy has been defused to some extent by EU-wide arrangements, much in the same way as in the case of Ireland prior to Brexit.


      • And a further word of caution regarding the published preliminary results: the calculated distribution of PR seats in the Chamber of Deputies on the basis of the published figures will differ slightly from the published seat totals: specifically, the former has the League obtaining an extra seat (on the basis of the largest remainder) at the expense of Brothers of Italy. At any rate, I’ve traced this discrepancy to the ten single-member Chamber districts with twenty-seven outstanding polling stations, all located in one or other of the two Lazio multi-member constituencies. Due to the fact that the vote count in these ten districts has not been completed, the votes cast for SMD candidates only in the aforementioned districts have not been proportionally allocated among their corresponding party lists. However, it appears that votes for SMD candidates only were actually distributed among party lists on the basis of the results received so far, and the unpublished, updated totals were in turn used to determine the nationwide PR list seat totals for qualifying parties and coalitions; with these updated figures – which I obtained by carrying out the relevant calculations myself – the final seat for the center-right coalition goes to Brothers of Italy, eliminating the observed seat discrepancy.

        I should also note that under Italy’s new electoral law, votes cast for parties with less than one percent of the vote running as part of a coalition entitled to take part in the distribution of Chamber seats are not considered for the purpose of calculating the coalition’s vote total. However, this rule does not apply to parties representing recognized linguistic minorities in areas with devolved government, provided the latter win either twenty percent of the vote in their respective regions, or secure at least two single-member district seats. As such, the center-left coalition vote total was determined by adding the votes cast only for the Democratic Party, More Europe or the South Tyrol People’s Party; the exclusion of the two minor lists with fewer than one percent cost the center-left four PR seats.


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