Italy

Parliamentary Elections

Electoral system

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The general election held on 13-14 April 2008 took place after the collapse of Romano Prodi's nine-party centre left coalition, elected with a narrow majority in April 2006. After several government crisis in 2006-2008 (prison overcrowding, foreign policy, lack of waste disposal in Naples), in the end it was reform of the electoral rules which proved the most divisive issue in the governing coalition, leading to Prodi's government's collaps.

The two principal contenders in the 2008 election were on the centre left and on the centre right. The centre left alliance consisted of the newly founded Democratic Party (PD - Partito Democratico) led by Walter Veltroni together with Italy of Values (IdV - Di Pietro Italia Dei Valori). The centre right alliance consisted of People of Freedom (Il Popolo Della Liberta' - PdL) led by Silvio Berlusconi, with the Lega Nord (LN) and the Movement for Autonomy (Movimento Per L'Autonomia - MPA). Berlusconi's coalition victory, at 46,8 % (PdL 37,39%, LN 8,30 % and MPA 1,13%) was almost 10 points clear of Veltroni's alliance. Among the factors that are seen as crucial to Berlusconi winning the election are changes in the party configuration, voters' perceptions of the preceding Prodi government, and the effect of the electoral system in translatin votes into seats.

Election results 2008, main parties. Districts.

Sources

Hancock, M.D., D.P. Conradt, B.G. Peters, W. Safran, R. Zarinski (1998). Politics in Western Europe. Basingstoke: Ma0cmillan Press LTD.

Inter-Parliamentary Union, PARLINE database on national parliaments

Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA): country descriptions.

Bull, M.J. & Newell, J.L. 2009. The general election in Italy, April 2008. Electoral Studies, Vol. 28(2): 337-342