1874 Italian general election

The 1874 Italian general election was held in Italy on 8 November, with a second round of voting on 15 November.[1] They were a snap election, called by Prime Minister Marco Minghetti to strengthen his majority.

1874 Italian general election

← 1870 8–15 November 1874 1876 →

All 508 seats to the Italian Chamber of Deputies
  Majority party Minority party
  Marco Minghetti.jpg Agostino Depretis.jpg
Leader Marco Minghetti Agostino Depretis
Party Historical Right Historical Left
Leader's seat Legnago Stradella
Seats won 276 232
Seat change Increase43 Increase37
Popular vote 156,784 150,119
Percentage 53.6% 46.4%

Prime Minister before election

Marco Minghetti
Historical Right

Elected Prime Minister

Marco Minghetti
Historical Right

Only 571,939 men of a total population of around 28 million were entitled to vote.[2] Right-wing candidates emerged as the largest bloc in Parliament with around 48% of the seats in Parliament.[3] They were largely aristocrats representing rentiers from the north of the country, and held moderate political views including loyalty to the crown and low government spending.[4]

Electoral campaignEdit

Prime Minister Marco Minghetti and his influent Minister of the Treasury Quintino Sella were involved into an ambitious program of budget which needed a strong majority, for which they tried to oblige the Independents to choose their side, beginning to build a two-party system as in the United Kingdom.[5] However, in the Italian non-partisan political system, hugely affected by localism and corruption, their bet was equivalent to an all-in that afterwards they lost.[6]

The election did not give to Minghetti the advantage he was hoping, especially for the high support to the opposition in Southern Italy.[7] His government survived, but the bipolarisation of the Parliament he had imposed, strengthened the Historical Left so that it could take the leadership of the country. Two years later, MPs from Tuscany became dissatisfied with the government after it refused to intervene in the financial problems of Florence. The government was defeated on a vote on nationalising railways on 18 March 1876 and was forced to resign.[8] As a result, Agostino Depretis, leader of the left-wing bloc, became Prime Minister, with 414 of the 508 MPs supporting the government.[8] Early elections were held in November.

Parties and leadersEdit

Party Ideology Leader
Historical Right Conservatism Marco Minghetti
Historical Left Liberalism Agostino Depretis


Summary of November 1874 Chamber of Deputies election results
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Historical Right 156,784[a] 53.6 276 +43
Historical Left 150,119[a] 46.4 232 +37
Invalid/blank votes 11,614
Total 318,517 100 508 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 571,939 55.7
Source: Nohlen & Stöver
  1. ^ a b Estimate
Popular vote
Historical Right
Historical Left


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1049
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1082
  4. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1028
  5. ^ La Stampa, Thursday, 5 November 1874
  6. ^ La Stampa, Sunday, 8 November 1874
  7. ^ La Stampa, Monday, 16 November 1974
  8. ^ a b Nohlen & Stöver, p1029