Italy’s upcoming election: another parliamentary stalemate in the making?

In less than a week Italy will be holding a general election three years ahead of schedule, but before I explain how the upcoming vote may lead to another gridlock, I believe an introduction is in order. My name is Manuel Alvarez-Rivera and I’m the webmaster of Election Resources on the Internet, where I cover elections and electoral systems around the world, mainly (but by no means exclusively) in Europe; I also write about the same topics at the Global Economy Matters (GEM) blog with fellow AFOE authors Edward Hugh and Claus Vistesen. I would like to take a moment to thank the AFOE team for inviting me as a guest poster, all the more so since the ocassion has a special significance to me: my collaboration on GEM with Edward was the outgrowth of his reply to an e-mail I sent to the editors of this blog two years ago, regarding Italy’s closely fought election.

As it happens, two years later Italy is back to the polls, following the collapse of Romano Prodi’s center-left coalition government earlier this year, and the last opinion polls published in March showed a consistent lead for the new, center-right People of Freedom Party (PdL) headed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which – in coalition with the Northern League (LN) and the Movement for Autonomy (MpA) – appeared set to capture an overall majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies under the country’s 2005 proportional representation with majority prize electoral law.

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