The paradoxes of the allocation of seats in Parliament with the Rosatellum

The paradoxes of the allocation of seats in Parliament with the Rosatellum

In the end, in the elections of 25 September, the right-wing coalition led by the Brothers of Italy obtained 43.8% of the votes, while the center-left coalition 26.1%, the 5-star movement 15.4% and the coalition Action plus Italy alive 7.7%. Thus the right-wing parties emerged as winners in the political elections on 25 September, securing a large majority in a small parliament (400 deputies and 200 senators) thanks also to the electoral law. In fact, the so-called Rosatellum rewards the formation of coalitions to compete in single-member seats, assigned through the majority. With this electoral system, he is elected only by the candidate who got the most votes, excluding the other opponents. Contrary to what happens with the proportional, where instead the seats are distributed proportionally according to the preferences expressed by the electorate.

The distribution of seats How the Rosatellum works Governability vs representation The challenges in the constituencies: the winners and (above all) the losers of the elections Gallery 20 Images by Daniele Polidoro

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The distribution of seats

If you look at the real votes, however, reported by Eligendo, the platform of the ministry of 'Interior dedicated to the dissemination of election data, the right-wing coalition won 12.2 million votes, while the other parties listed, together, were chosen by 13.8 million voters and electricians. Overall, however, the real winner of these elections is the abstention party, which obtained 18 million "members", an absolute record in the history of the Italian Republic.

However, these results do not reflect the division of seats in Parliament. In the Chamber, the right will be able to count on 235 representatives and in the Senate on 115, leaving the other parties respectively 165 and 85 seats. This discrepancy between the choice of the electorate and the distribution of seats depends both on the redistribution of the votes obtained by the coalition to all the parties that belong to it, thus disadvantaging those who appear separated, and on the presence of single-member constituencies, obtained by a large majority from the right, and assigned through the majority system.

What are the single-member and multi-member constituencies of the electoral law? Here is how the seats will be assigned in the elections on 25 September

How the Rosatellum works

In the Chamber, the Rosatellum provides for the assignment of 147 single-member constituencies out of 400 through the majority and another 74 out of 200 in the Senate. The other seats are assigned through the proportional system. This means that winning single-member constituencies secures the majority, despite an unrepresentative breakdown of voters' choices. In fact, through the proportional system, the seats are distributed proportionally among the political forces, faithfully representing the percentages of the electorate. While with the majority who gets even a single extra vote secures the seat, excluding the rival candidate or candidate.

There is absolutely nothing illegal or smoky about this system, it is simply a electoral system that favors the formation of a bipolar system, and a parliament composed of two camps, limiting or completely excluding minority forces, in the name of governability. A purely proportional distribution of seats could in fact prevent the formation of a majority large and solid enough to govern.

The steps to form Parliament and government after the elections The first session of the new Parliament, in a reduced version, is will be held on October 13th. Parliamentary procedures and the election of the presidents of the chambers will be carried out first. Only at this point will the consultations begin to inaugurate a new executive

Governability vs representation

However, governability is obtained at the expense of representation, giving rise to parliamentary majorities that do not reflect the vote. Thus, due to the majority system, parties with fewer votes in absolute terms may be successful. While the parties that, together, have obtained the majority of votes will sit in the opposition benches. An example of the effects of the majority is, for example, the distribution of seats between the Democratic Party (Pd) and the League in the Chamber. In fact, both parties could get 65 seats, despite the fact that the Democratic Party was voted by 5.4 million people and the League by only 2.4.

Keep in mind the existence of this system, it is important not to overestimate or underestimate the electoral success of one or the other party and to think constructively about the meaning of representation.

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