The Municipal Elections of 1999 and the ‘Defeat’ of the Left in Bologna

in Italian Politics
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On 29 November and 13 December 1998, elections were held for

the renewal of fifty-eight municipal councils in towns comprising

more than 15,000 inhabitants, as well as of four provincial administrations.

The feature that most caught the attention of politicians

and commentators, apart from changes in the political balance of

the coalitions, was the turnout for these elections. For the first time

in the electoral history of republican Italy, non-voters in the provincial

elections in some cases amounted to more than 50 percent of

the electorate. Largely blamed for this fall in electoral participation

was the frequency with which voters had been recently called to

the polling booths; and this accelerated the process of modifying

the law on the direct election of the mayor, it being proposed,

amongst other things, that all the administrative elections should

be combined into a single annual round of voting.

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