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  ‘Hand-to-hand’ combat in Italy’s election
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jan 15, 2018 09:49am
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CategoryElection Guide
AuthorLorenzo Pregliasco and Matteo Cavallaro
News DateMonday, January 15, 2018 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionBOLOGNA, Italy — When Italians head to the polls on March 4, they’ll be voting under an electoral system that’s not only new, but radically different from what came before it.

For the first time since 2001, Italians will cast a ballot not just for a party, but for a candidate in a first-past-the-post race in their local constituency. This has several important implications.

The new law — nicknamed the Rosatellum after Ettore Rosato, the Democratic Party parliamentary leader who proposed it — introduced a mixed system. The center-left Democratic Party (PD) passed the law with the support of the center-right Forza Italia and the Northern League.

In this new system, 37 percent of the parliament (232 out of 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 109 out of 315 seats in the Senate) is elected locally, with the seat going to the candidate with the most votes in his or her constituency. The remaining 63 percent of seats are allocated proportionally via the use of short closed lists, with a small number selected by Italians living abroad.

The new system will force parties to compete in closely contested races constituency by constituency, investing heavily in dozens of “micro-campaigns” all over the country. Unlike recent legislative elections, where the proportional system favored media-centered campaigns and left out any role for door-to-door activism and a ground game, in 2018 parties will have to “fight hand-to-hand in the constituencies,” as former Prime Minister and current Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi put it.
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