Lorenzo Rampa

The trajectory of the Italian electoral law between representativeness and government stability: Condorcet hostages?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Electoral Law; Political Representation; Preference Orderings; Voting Paradoxes.

The decision no. 35/2017 of the Constitutional Court declared the Italian electoral law unconstitutional, invoking a possible over-representation of the party winning the second ballot due to the majority bonus. At the same time, it declared constitutionally legitimate the majority bonus to the party exceeding the threshold of 40% of the first ballot votes. The Parliament has accordingly approved a new electoral law that abandoned both the second ballot and the majority bonus. Indeed a mixed single ballot was adopted, with a majoritarian seats share lower than in the «Mattarella Law» in force before 2005. This article deals with the concept of representativeness in light of the «political representation» and «collective choice» theories. It shows that, by dropping an over/under-representation criterion based solely on the first ballot votes, and admitting that voters have an orderly set of preferences, many paradoxical results may emerge in every electoral system including the proportional one. Finally this article casts doubts on the fact that the Italian electoral law trajectory should have necessarily ended with a mixed system that is both more proportional and less favorable to the government stability than the «Mattarella Law».

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