Reforming the Italian Electoral Law, 1993

Richard S. Katz

in Mixed-Member Electoral Systems

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780199257683
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600241 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

 Reforming the Italian Electoral Law, 1993

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Explores the replacement in Italy of an extremely proportional (hyper‐representative) system by a relatively majoritarian variant of a mixed‐member electoral system. On April 18, 1993, the Italian electorate overwhelmingly approved a referendum that altered the electoral system for the national Senate. Unlike the 1993 referendum altering the electoral system in New Zealand (discussed in the previous chapter), which came at the end of a lengthy process including an extensive study and report by a Royal Commission, and which gave final popular approval to put the new electoral regime into effect, the Italian referendum was the catalyst that finally initiated change after long, but apparently futile, debate. Rather than ratifying the selection of one system that had been deliberately chosen over others, the Italian referendum imposed, at least for the moment, the only reform possible, given that Italian referendums can only abrogate existing laws, but cannot impose new ones. The different sections of the chapter are: Background to the Referendum of 1993; Immediate Impact of the Referendum; Ends and Means—to electoral reform; Drafting the New Electoral System in the Chamber; Drafting the New Electoral System in the Senate; The New Electoral System; and Expectations and Predictions.

Keywords: electoral history; electoral reform; electoral systems; extreme electoral systems; hyper‐representative systems; Italian 1993 referendum; Italy; mixed‐member electoral systems; mixed‐member majoritarian systems; referendums

Chapter.  11853 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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