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Electoral system


The rules for elections to the Chamber of Deputies are laid down in several laws that were consolidated in Presidential Decree 361 of 30 March 1957.

The Consolidated Text was amended by Law 165 of 3 November 2017, which introduced a mixed electoral system under which some seats are assigned to single-member constituencies that use a first-past-the post system of voting, and others to multi-member constituencies that use proportional representation.

No change was made to the system currently in use for the election of the 12 Deputies from the "Overseas" electoral district (a special constituency representing Italians residing abroad), which continues to be governed by the rules laid down by Law 459 of 27 December 2001.

The principal features of the system for election to the Chamber of Deputies are as follows:

· The national territory is divided into 27 regional or sub-regional electoral districts.

· 231 seats are assigned to first-past-the post single-member constituencies - established within the electoral districts - where the most-voted candidate is elected.

· The remaining 386 seats are assigned by proportional representation (PR) using the method of whole quotients and highest remainders.

· For the PR quota, the 386 seats are allocated on a national scale as follows. First, the seats are allocated to the individual party lists and to the multi-party coalitions that have reached the required thresholds. Second, for each coalition, the seats are distributed among the parties belonging to it that have reached the required threshold. Once it has been established how many seats at national level are to be assigned to coalitions and to individual party lists, the next step is to allocate seats proportionally within each electoral district. The procedure followed is the same as that used at a national level, viz. the seats are first divided between individual party lists and multi-party coalitions, and then distributed proportionally among the parties belonging to each coalition. Then, a tally is made of the number of seats to be allocated to each list in each electoral district. The seats in the multi-member constituencies are then assigned in proportion to the votes each list has received in the relevant constituency.

· For multi-party coalitions, the minimum threshold for representation in Parliament is 10 percent of valid votes cast nationally; for the party lists, whether the party is running alone or as part of a coalition, the threshold is 3 percent (though there are special provisions for parties that represent linguistic minorities).

· In each multi-member constituency, candidates are elected according to the order of names on the list and on the basis of the number of seats the party list is entitled to.

· The Region of Valle d'Aosta forms one single-member constituency.

· Electors cast one vote only, which is counted both for the candidate running for election in the single-member constituency and for the candidate running for election in the multi-member constituency.

· The election laws are designed to enforce gender balance. Therefore, the lists of candidates running for election in multi-member constituencies must alternate between the sexes; further, the overall composition of the lists presented by individual parties and coalitions both for single-member and for multi-member constituencies must be such that at a national level neither sex has more than 60 percent representation among the candidates.

No change has been made to the provision introduced by Law 52/2015 according to which citizens who are temporarily abroad for reasons of study, work or medical treatment may cast a postal vote in the "Overseas" electoral district, while military and police personnel who are on international missions may likewise cast a postal vote, the procedures for which are decided by the relevant ministers.

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