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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Italian electoral history has been shaped by political actors’ concerns to ensure their own dominance. The single member constituencies and limited franchise of the early liberal period safeguarded the predominance of local notables. But the expanding franchise and the rise of new mass parties undermined that system, leading to proportional representation. Under Fascism the electoral system was engineered to provide the Fascist Party with a broad majority. After the war, an electoral system based on party-list proportional representation was introduced along with universal suffrage. Designed to safeguard the idea of party democracy, the system emphasized political fragmentation and lack of internal party cohesion. To improve government stability, several attempts to reform the system in a majoritarian sense have taken place, especially in the so called Second Republic. However, these attempts have only been partly successful, and the Constitutional Court has deemed the current law unconstitutional. Electoral reform remains a priority.

Keywords: elections, Fascism, Constitutional Court, electoral reform, franchise, proportional representation, political parties

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