Thanks to referral provided by the good folks at Make My Vote Count, I have now read the clearest explanation yet of the new Italian electoral system, to be used in the 9-10 April parliamentary election. Unfortunately, that is not saying much.
Under the heading, “Proportional representation explained,” the guide explains that the former mixed-member system has been abolished, describes the new system as “closed list” and outlines the thresholds (4% in the House, 8% in the Senate, with various complexities for lists presented by pre-election coalitions). So far, so good.
But then the kicker: In each house, the “coalition” (which might mean a unified list of several parties, or might mean separate but allied lists, it is not clear) that wins the most votes is guaranteed at least 55% of the seats.
Hmmm, that isn’t PR.
And then, for the Senate, after noting that some regions will continue to have single-seat constituencies, it says:
The new system means that small parties receiving less than two per cent of the overall vote will be unable to secure a seat in parliament, however successful they might be in an individual constituency.
OK, I am just a little bit confused here.
I sure hope this is not the last word on this new electoral system.
(For previous posts in which I try to sort out what this system is, just click on “Italy” above.)