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Italian court to review voting law

Italy’s Constitutional Court plays a regular part in Italian politics but the country’s new electoral law, or Italicum as its known, may give it a reduced role in…

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Italian court to review voting law

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Italy’s Constitutional Court plays a regular part in Italian politics but the country’s new electoral law, or Italicum as its known, may give it a reduced role in future.

The simple idea is to give a government more stability and end the merry-go-round which often characterises Italian politics.

Under the Italicum, which only relates to the lower house of parliament, there’ll be a two-part ballot that will guarantee a big majority to the winning party, provided they gain at least 40 percent in the second round.

Political analyst Marco Cacciotto spoke to euronews of the inherent risks: “Basically it gives potentially a big majority bonus. But with a fragmentation of political forces (which is the case in Italy), a party can reach the second round having taken just the 20% (of the votes). And this party could finally have 55% of the seats in parliament.”.

The two-round system is widely used around the world for the election of legislative bodies and directly elected presidents, such as in France for example. In Italy, it is used to elect mayors.

“Initially the two round ballot was not expected, but by introducing it the law makes sure that no political force can achieve the majority bonus with a too low a threshold and you can have this just with a second round,” said Cacciotto.

In the past, Italy’s Constitutional Court has decided that electoral laws must maintain the principle of a multi-polar political system.

“In other countries with majoritarian systems, the key factor is governability and proportionally representing the electorate is less important,” added Cacciotto.

The court’s ruling could determine Italy’s immediate political future and whether there’ll be an early poll in June and also put in place a system for years to come.