Aldo Di Virgilio

The Italian General Elections of April 2006: Testing the New Electoral System

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In December 2005 the Italian Parliament passed new electoral laws for the Chamber of Deputies and Senate designed by the center-right government coalition. These laws have introduced proportional electoral systems with a majority bonus: at national level for the Chamber; at the regional level for the Senate. The article aims to detect the influence of the new electoral systems in the Italian general elections of April 2006. Three major issues are considered: differences between the Chamber and the Senate laws and allocation of seats; opportunities for multiple candidacies and political representation; changes in the ballot structure (elimination of single-member districts; introduction of a majority bonus for a set of inter-party connected lists) and formation of electoral coalitions. The most relevant findings concern the implementation of the majority bonus in the Senate, the unequal distribution of seats among candidates, and the political consequences of the strategic coordination between parties and coalition formation determined by the change in the ballot structure

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