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Alessandro Chiaramonte

The Italian general elections held in February 2013 ended up in stalemate. The center-left coalition won the absolute majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies but not in the Senate, making it impossible to form any homogeneous governing majority. In the end, the only available opstion to support the new cabinet was a “grand coalition” of parties from different political sides. This chapter analyzes this destabilizing outcome, taking into account a number of factors: the success of a new anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, which has become the largest party in the country; the significant loss of votes by the center-left and especially by the center-right, compared to the previous elections of 2008; the peculiar nature and functioning of the electoral system; the extraordinary level of vote shifts; the “new” electoral geography; the crisis of the bipolar setting; and the transformation of the party system.

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Introduction

The Great Reform That Never Was

Alessandro Chiaramonte and Alex Wilson

In Italy, 2016 was meant to be the year of the “great reform,” a constitutional revision that would have concluded the never-ending transition from “First” to “Second” Republic, a long process involving several transformations in the electoral system and party system since the 1990s. It did not turn out this way. Instead, the Renzi-Boschi law for constitutional revision, which started its parliamentary procedure in April 2014 and saw its final reading in the Chamber of Deputies in April 2016, was eventually rejected by voters in a confirmative referendum held on 4 December.