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Overview of the Italian electoral reform proposal

In Italy, the government has presented the project of one of the most flaunted reforms of the electoral campaign of the centre-right coalition: the direct election of the President of the Council. As a matter of fact, the centre-right coalition would prefer the direct election of the President of the Republic (like, i.e., in France), but they have later shifted to the election of the Prime Minister, being it possibly more appreciated by the various political forces of the parliament (as the leader of the Forza Italia party, and minister for Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, recently said).

The project (which, at the moment, is an advanced draft) has some important and greatly innovative features, the most important of which are: the PM is elected directly in just one electoral round; the electoral system is utterly majority and assures a majority bonus of the 55% of the parliament; should the PM resign, the President of the Republic could nominate another PM only among the MPs of the same coalition that has won the elections.

The project could be presented to the parliament in the next few weeks, and, being it a reform of the Constitution, it will take many months to have it approved (this kind of bills need a double check in the two Houses of parliament, both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies).

As usual, a lot of debate and controversies have immediately aroused. The centre right claims that this reform will assure governability to the Country, and that the PM, not needing a confidence vote, will last much longer than it used to be so far. Moreover, the new rules will prevent the changes of majority and also the so called ‘Technic governments’ (Italy is a parliamentary republic so far: you don’t need to have a PM among the MPs. The confidence vote is enough).

On the other side, many experts underline that the new rules would empty the prerogatives of the President of the Republic and have a bad impact on the complex system of checks and balances of the Italian institutional system. This reform, many say, is not utterly majority, keeping some features of the parliamentary system that will, sooner or later, collide with the new rules.

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