The European elections constituted the most important electoral

appointment of 2009 in Italy.1 For this reason, the electoral campaign

became embroiled in a heated discussion of major relevant national

themes. On the one hand, this was in line with what had taken place

in the preceding elections; on the other hand, with respect to the recent

past, one also observes three fundamental differences. The first is that

the elections were regulated by an electoral law that had been deeply

modified in key aspects. Second, as a consequence of these modifications,

the number of Italian parties represented in the European

Parliament was reduced from 15 in 2004 to 5 in 2009.