How Italy’s Giorgia Meloni Beat The System

Electoral laws tend to fall into main categories: majority or proportional. Distinguishing between the two is relatively easy. Majority systems are characterized by one college for each and every parliamentary seat to be assigned. The political party that gets one vote more than the other parties competing for the same seat in any given election wins that seat. In proportional systems, seats are assigned subject to the percentage of votes obtained overall (so that, for example, a party obtaining five percent of the votes will be entitled to five percent of the seats.)

The electoral law approved in 2017 and named “Rosatellum” in honor of its sponsor, Ettore Rosato, is a mix of both systems. In fact, the law assigns about one-third of the seats under the majority system and the remaining two-thirds of the seats under the proportional system. Therefore, 147 Deputies and 74 Senators are to be elected in as many colleges by a majority vote (whereby the Candidate receiving the most votes wins), while the remaining 253 Deputies and 126 Senators are to be elected proportionally.

The above-described electoral law produces the following two results. The first is that in Uninominal colleges, where each party or coalition can only run with one candidate, the bigger political forces of the center-left are favored provided they pool their efforts; divisiveness will only mean handing over seats to the center-right coalition. The second result is that, unlike in the past, the majority rule guarantees that after the vote, a winner will most definitely emerge.

The Rosatellum provides a minimum cut-off or percentage requirement, which must be achieved before becoming entitled to a share of the seats. Such minimum is fixed at 3 percent for political parties and 10 percent for coalitions. The votes received will be lost if a political force does not meet the minimum.

Regardless, if a coalition party wins at least one percent of the votes, such votes will be counted as part of the coalition’s total number of votes. Because of this, political forces will be encouraged to ally themselves with others in a coalition rather than run alone.

The above is an English translation by Paul Paracchini of an article published on August 1, 2022
on the online magazine, “”

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