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Electoral system

Law No. 270 of 21 December 2005 introduced a fully proportional system for election to the Chamber of Deputies, with the possibility of the award of bonus seats for a nationwide majority result, replacing the earlier partly proportional system.
The 617 Deputies are elected nationwide in proportion to the number of votes obtained by the lists of candidates submitted in the 26 constituencies; one Deputy is elected using the first-past-the-post system in the single-member Valle d'Aosta constituency; the remaining 12 Deputies are elected to the Constituency for Italians living abroad following the procedures provided by Law No. 459 of 2001 and its regulation for implementation (D.P.R. Decree of the President of the Republic - No. 104 of 2003).
The new rules provide that with regard to the candidates, the political parties submitting lists may also form coalitions; parties intending to stand for election to the position of ruling party must also submit their manifesto and announce the name of their leader.
The voting procedure permits voters to cast only one vote on their preferred list, with no preference votes.
The seats are distributed proportionately nationwide between the coalitions of lists and the lists that have exceeded the statutory minimum thresholds. Only coalitions obtaining at least 10% of the total valid votes cast shall be admitted to the distribution of seats, and within these coalitions, the lists obtaining 2% of the valid votes cast, the linguistic minorities' list obtaining at least 20% of the votes cast in their constituency and the list obtaining the highest number of votes among all the lists which fail to win 2% of the votes cast. Lists which are not attached to a coalition are also admitted for distribution of seats if they obtain at least 4% of the votes nationwide.
In the event that the coalition of lists (or the non-attached list) with the largest number of votes fail to win 340 seats, they are awarded a number of "topping-up" bonus seats to reach 340.

The seats are distributed in the following phases:

  • the total votes are counted for each coalition of lists or individual unattached list by constituency and nationwide to establish which of them has obtained the largest number of votes nationwide for the purpose of awarding the "topping-up" majority bonus;
  • the coalitions of lists and the unattached lists which have passed the statutory minimum threshold and therefore qualify for the allocation of seats;
  • the number of seats to which each coalition of lists or unattached list exceeding the statutory minimum threshold is entitled nationwide. The breakdown of seats is proportional to the votes obtained using the whole number quotient and the highest remainders method;
  • the coalition of lists or the unattached list with the largest number of votes are then examined to see whether they have obtained 340 seats;
  • if so, the "topping-up" majority bonus is not awarded. The number of seats to which each coalition is entitled is allocated to the lists admitted to the division belonging to that coalition. The seats assigned nationally to each admitted list are then distributed in each constituency;
  • if no coalition of lists or unattached list obtains at least 340 seats, the one with the largest number of votes is awarded the "topping-up" majority bonus seats, which is the difference between 340 and the actual number assigned to them proportionally. The 277 remaining seats are distributed between the other coalitions or unattached lists using the whole number quotient and highest remainders method;
  • in each constituency the successful candidates are declared elected in the order on which they appeared on each list. In the event that all the candidates on a given list have all been declared elected, the successful candidates on the same list for another constituency, or on another list of the same coalition in the same constituency, or in another constituency, in that order, shall be declared elected.