1968 Italian general election

The 1968 Italian general election was held in Italy on 19 May 1968.[1] The Christian Democracy (DC) remained stable around 38% of the votes. They were marked by a victory of the Communist Party (PCI) passing from 25% of 1963 to c. 30% at the Senate, where it presented jointly with the new Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP), which included members of Socialist Party (PSI) which disagreed the latter's alliance with DC. PSIUP gained c. 4.5% at the Chamber. The Socialist Party and the Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI) presented together as the Unified PSI–PSDI, but gained c. 15%, far less than the sum of what the two parties had obtained separately in 1963.

1968 Italian general election

← 1963 19 May 1968 1972 →

All 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies  · 315 seats in the Senate
Registered35,566,493 (C· 32,517,638 (S)
Turnout33,001,644 (C· 92.8% (Decrease0.1 pp)
30,252,921 (S· 93.0% (Decrease0.1 pp)
  Majority party Minority party Third party
 
Mariano Rumor daticamera.jpg
Luigi Longo 1968.jpg
Francesco De Martino.jpg
Leader Mariano Rumor Luigi Longo Francesco De Martino[a]
Party Christian Democracy Communist Party Unified Socialist Party
Leader since 27 January 1964 22 August 1964 12 December 1963
Leader's seat Verona (C) Milan (C) Naples (C)
Seats won 266 (C) / 135 (S) 177 (C) / 101 (S)[c] 91 (C) / 46 (S)
Seat change Increase6 (C) / Increase6 (S) Increase11 (C) / Increase17 (S) Decrease29 (C) / Decrease12 (S)
Popular vote 12,441,553 (C)
10,972,114 (S)
8,557,404 (C)
8,585,601 (S)[c]
4,605,832 (C)
4,354,906 (S)
Percentage 39.1% (C)
38.3% (S)
26.9% (C)
30.0% (S)[c]
14.5% (C)
15.2% (S)
Swing Increase0.8 pp (C)
Increase1.8 pp (S)
Increase1.6 pp (C)
Increase6.5 pp (S)
Decrease5.5 pp (C)[b]
Decrease5.1 pp (S)[b]

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
 
Giovanni Malagodi 1972.jpg
Arturo Michelini (cropped).jpg
Tullio Vecchietti 1968.jpg
Leader Giovanni Malagodi Arturo Michelini Tullio Vecchietti
Party Liberal Party Social Movement Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity
Leader since 4 April 1954 10 October 1954 12 January 1964
Leader's seat Milan (C) Rome (C) Rome (C)
Seats won 31 (C) / 16 (S) 24 (C) / 11 (S) 23 (C) / w. PCI (S)
Seat change Decrease8 (C) / Decrease2 (S) Decrease3 (C) / Decrease3 (S) New party
Popular vote 1,850,650 (C)
1,943,795 (S)
1,414,036 (C)
1,304,847 (S)
1,414,697 (C)
w. PCI (S)
Percentage 5.1% (C)
6.8% (S)
4.5% (C)
4.6% (S)
4.5% (C)
w. PCI (S)
Swing Decrease1.2 pp (C)
Decrease0.6 pp (S)
Decrease0.6 pp (C)
Decrease0.7 pp (S)
New party

1968 Italian general election - Results.svg
Results of the election in the Chamber and Senate.

Prime Minister before election

Aldo Moro
Christian Democracy

Prime Minister after the election

Giovanni Leone
Christian Democracy

Electoral systemEdit

The pure party-list proportional representation had traditionally become the electoral system for the Chamber of Deputies. Italian provinces were united in 32 constituencies, each electing a group of candidates. At constituency level, seats were divided between open lists using the largest remainder method with Imperiali quota. Remaining votes and seats were transferred at national level, where they was divided using the Hare quota, and automatically distributed to best losers into the local lists.

For the Senate, 237 single-seat constituencies were established, even if the assembly had risen to 315 members. The candidates needed a landslide victory of two thirds of votes to be elected, a goal which could be reached only by the German minorities in South Tirol. All remained votes and seats were grouped in party lists and regional constituencies, where a D'Hondt method was used: inside the lists, candidates with the best percentages were elected.

Historical backgroundEdit

On 21 August 1964, the historic leader of the Italian Communist Party, Palmiro Togliatti died of cerebral haemorrhage[2] while vacationing with his companion Nilde Iotti in Yalta, then in the Soviet Union. According to some of his collaborators, Togliatti was travelling to the Soviet Union in order to give his support to Leonid Brezhnev's election as Nikita Khrushchev's successor at the head of Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Togliatti was replaced by Luigi Longo, a long-time prominent PCI members; Longo continued Togliatti's line, known as the "Italian road to Socialism", playing down the alliance between the Italian Communist Party and the USSR. He reacted without hostility to the new left movements that sprung up in 1968 and, among the leaders of the PCI, was one of those most disposed to engage with the new activists, although he did not condone their excesses.

Moreover, Francesco De Martino, became the new Secretary of the Italian Socialist Party, after the resignation of Pietro Nenni, due to age.

In 1965, the SIFAR intelligence agency was transformed into the SID following an aborted coup d'état, Piano Solo, which was to give power to the Carabinieri, then headed by general De Lorenzo.

The difficult equilibrium of Italian society was challenged by a rising left-wing movement, in the wake of 1968 student unrest ("Sessantotto"). This movement was characterized by such heterogeneous events as revolts by jobless farm workers (Avola, Battipaglia 1969), occupations of Universities by students, social unrest in the large Northern factories (1969 autunno caldo, hot autumn). While conservative forces tried to roll back some of the social advances of the 1960s, and part of the military indulged in "sabre rattling" in order to intimidate progressive political forces, numerous left-wing activists became increasingly frustrated at social inequalities, while the myth of guerrilla (Che Guevara, the Uruguayan Tupamaros) and of the Chinese Maoist "cultural revolution" increasingly inspired extreme left-wing violent movements.

Social protests, in which the student movement was particularly active, shook Italy during the 1969 autunno caldo (Hot Autumn), leading to the occupation of the Fiat factory in Turin. In March 1968, clashes occurred at La Sapienza university in Rome, during the "Battle of Valle Giulia." Mario Capanna, associated with the New Left, was one of the figures of the student movement, along with the members of Potere Operaio and Autonomia Operaia such as (Antonio Negri, Oreste Scalzone, Franco Piperno and of Lotta Continua such as Adriano Sofri.

Parties and leadersEdit

Party Ideology Leader
Christian Democracy (DC) Christian democracy Mariano Rumor
Italian Communist Party (PCI) Communism Luigi Longo
Unified Socialist Party (PSU) Socialism, Social democracy Francesco De Martino
Italian Liberal Party (PLI) Conservative liberalism Giovanni Malagodi
Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP) Democratic socialism Tullio Vecchietti
Italian Social Movement (MSI) Neo-fascism Arturo Michelini
Italian Republican Party (PRI) Social liberalism Ugo La Malfa
Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity (PDIUM) National conservatism Alfredo Covelli

ResultsEdit

The election was a test for the new organization of the socialist area, which was divided between the new revolutionary and Communist-allied Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity and the governmental social-democratic federation between PSI and PSDI. The polls said that the split of the PSIUP in 1964 had not been a purely parliamentary operation, but the reflex of divisions into the leftist electorate. The result shocked the PSI's leadership, causing the sudden sinking of the social-democratic federation, and an alternance of provisional retirements by the government, firstly led by lifetime senator Giovanni Leone and then, through two political crisis, by DC's secretary Mariano Rumor. Unsuccessfully trying to recover its lost leftist electors, the PSI returned to the alliance with the PCI for the regional elections of 1970, so causing another crisis and a new change of premiership, then led by Emilio Colombo, but the government coalition had continuous problems of instability. Influent Giulio Andreotti tried to resurrect the centrist formula in 1972, but he failed, opening the way to the first early election of the republican history.

Chamber of DeputiesEdit

Summary of the 19 May 1968 Chamber of Deputies election results
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Christian Democracy (DC) 12,437,848 39.12 266 +6
Italian Communist Party (PCI) 8,551,347 26.90 177 +11
Unified Socialist Party (PSU) 4,603,192 14.48 91 −29
Italian Liberal Party (PLI) 1,850,650 5.82 31 −8
Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP) 1,414,697 4.45 23 New
Italian Social Movement (MSI) 1,414,036 4.45 24 −3
Italian Republican Party (PRI) 626,533 1.97 9 +3
Italian Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity (PDIUM) 414,507 1.30 6 −2
South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) 152,991 0.48 3 ±0
Social Democracy 100,212 0.32 0 ±0
New Republic (NR) 63,402 0.20 0 ±0
Autonomous Party of Italy's Pensioners (PAPI) 41,416 0.13 0 ±0
Valdostan Union (UV) 31,557 0.10 0 −1
Others 87,674 0.28 0 ±0
Invalid/blank votes 1,211,216
Total 33,001,644 100 630 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 35,566,493 92.79
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote
DC
39.12%
PCI
26.90%
PSU
14.48%
PLI
5.82%
PSIUP
4.45%
MSI
4.45%
PRI
1.97%
PDIUM
1.30%
Others
1.50%
Seats
DC
42.22%
PCI
28.10%
PSU
14.44%
PLI
4.92%
MSI
3.81%
PSIUP
3.65%
PRI
1.43%
PDIUM
0.95%
Others
0.48%

Results by constituencyEdit

Constituency Total
seats
Seats won
DC PCI PSU PLI MSI PSIUP PRI PDIUM Others
Turin 32 11 10 5 3 1 2
Cuneo 15 7 3 3 1 1
Genoa 22 8 7 4 2 1
Milan 47 17 13 8 4 2 2 1
Como 17 9 3 3 1 1
Brescia 20 12 3 3 1 1
Mantua 9 4 3 2
Trentino 9 4 1 1 3
Verona 28 17 4 4 1 1 1
Venice 18 9 4 3 1 1
Udine 15 7 3 3 1 1
Bologna 25 6 12 4 1 1 1
Parma 20 6 9 3 1 1
Florence 16 5 8 2 1
Pisa 15 5 6 2 1 1
Siena 9 3 5 1
Ancona 17 7 6 2 1 1
Perugia 13 4 5 2 1 1
Rome 47 17 13 6 4 4 1 1 1
L'Aquila 15 8 4 2 1
Campobasso 5 3 1 1
Naples 38 15 10 5 1 3 1 1 2
Benevento 21 10 4 3 1 1 1 1
Bari 23 11 7 3 1 1
Lecce 19 9 5 2 1 2
Potenza 8 5 2 1
Catanzaro 26 11 6 5 1 1 1 1
Catania 29 13 7 3 2 2 1 1
Palermo 29 12 7 3 1 2 1 2 1
Cagliari 19 8 5 2 1 1 1 1
Aosta Valley 1 1
Trieste 3 2 1
Total 630 266 177 91 31 24 23 9 6 3

Senate of the RepublicEdit

Summary of the 19 May 1968 Senate of the Republic election results
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Christian Democracy (DC) 10,972,114 38.34 135 +6
Italian Communist PartyPSIUP (PCI–PSIUP) 8,585,601 30.00 101 +17
Unified Socialist Party (PSU) 4,354,906 15.22 46 −12
Italian Liberal Party (PLI) 1,943,795 6.79 16 −2
Italian Social Movement (MSI) 1,304,847 4.56 11 −3
Italian Republican Party (PRI) 622,388 2.17 2 +2
Italian Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity (PDIUM) 312,702 1.09 2 ±0
MSIPDIUM 292,349 1.02 0 −1
South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) 131,071 0.46 2 ±0
Social Democracy 36,073 0.13 0 New
Valdostan Union (UV) 28,414 0.10 0 ±0
Others 31,761 0.11 0 ±0
Invalid/blank votes 2,740,176
Total 30,252,921 100 315 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 32,517,638 93.04
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote
DC
38.34%
PCIPSIUP
30.00%
PSU
15.22%
PLI
6.79%
MSI
4.56%
PRI
2.17%
PDIUM
1.09%
Others
1.83%
Seats
DC
42.86%
PCIPSIUP
32.06%
PSU
14.60%
PLI
5.08%
MSI
3.49%
PRI
0.63%
PDIUM
0.63%
Others
0.63%

Results by constituencyEdit

Constituency Total
seats
Seats won
DC PCIPSIUP PSU PLI MSI PRI PDIUM Others
Piedmont 24 10 7 4 3
Aosta Valley 1 1
Lombardy 45 20 12 8 4 1
Trentino-Alto Adige 7 4 1 2
Veneto 23 13 5 4 1
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 7 4 2 1
Liguria 11 4 4 2 1
Emilia-Romagna 22 6 12 3 1
Tuscany 20 7 10 3
Umbria 7 2 4 1
Marche 8 4 3 1
Lazio 24 9 8 3 2 2
Abruzzo 7 4 2 1
Molise 2 2
Campania 29 11 8 4 1 2 1 2
Apulia 21 9 6 3 1 2
Basilicata 7 4 2 1
Calabria 12 5 4 2 1
Sicily 29 11 9 3 2 3 1
Sardinia 9 5 3 1
Total 315 135 101 46 16 11 2 2 2

MapsEdit

Seat distribution by constituency for the Chamber of Deputies (left) and Senate (right).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1048 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Agosti, Aldo (30 July 2008). Palmiro Togliatti: A Biography. London: I. B. Tauris. pp. 291–292. ISBN 978-1-84511-726-9. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  1. ^ As secretary of the main party within the coalition, the Italian Socialist Party (PSI).
  2. ^ a b Considering the votes of the PSI and of the PSDI.
  3. ^ a b c In a joint list with the PSIUP.