1996 Italian general election
A snap national general election was held in Italy on 21 April 1996 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. Romano Prodi, leader of the centre-left coalition The Olive Tree, won the election, narrowly defeating Silvio Berlusconi, who led the Pole for Freedoms centre-right coalition.
All 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
315 seats in the Senate
Election results maps for the Chamber of Deputies (on the left) and for the Senate (on the right). On the left, the color identifies the coalition which received the most votes in each province. On the right, the color identifies the coalition which won the most seats in respect to each Region. Red the Centre-left coalition, Blue denotes the Centre-right coalition, Green denotes Lega Nord and Gray regional parties.
For the election, the Northern League of Umberto Bossi ran alone, after having left the Berlusconi I Cabinet in 1994, causing a crisis which drove President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro to appoint a technocratic cabinet led by Lamberto Dini, which in turn lost its Parliamentary support in 1995, forcing Scalfaro to dissolve the Italian Parliament. The Communist Refoundation Party, led by Fausto Bertinotti, instead made a pre-electoral alliance with The Olive Tree, presenting its own candidates, supported by Prodi's coalition, mainly in some safe leftist constituencies, in exchange for supporting Olive Tree candidates on the other ones, and ensuring external support for a Prodi government.
- 1 Electoral system
- 2 General election
- 3 Main coalitions and parties
- 4 Results for the Chamber of Deputies
- 5 Results for the Senate of the Republic
- 6 Results
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The intricate electoral system of Italy, nicknamed as Mattarellum (after Sergio Mattarella, who was the official proponent), provided a 75% of the seats on the Chamber of Deputies (the Lower House) as elected by a plurality voting system, whereas the remaining 25% was assigned by proportional representation with a minimum threshold of 4%. If possible, the method associate on the Senate was even more complicated: 75% of seats by uninominal method, and 25% by a special proportional method that actually assigned the remaining seats to minority parties.
In December 1994, following the communication of a new investigation from Milan magistrates that was leaked to the press, Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern League, left the coalition claiming that the electoral pact had not been respected, forcing Berlusconi to resign from office and shifting the majority's weight to the centre-left side. The Northern League also resented the fact that many of its MPs had switched to Forza Italia, allegedly lured by promises of more prestigious portfolios.
Berlusconi remained as caretaker prime minister for a little over a month until his replacement by a technocratic government headed by Lamberto Dini. Dini had been a key minister in the Berlusconi cabinet, and Berlusconi said the only way he would support a technocratic government would be if Dini headed it. In the end, however, Dini was only supported by most opposition parties but not by Forza Italia and Northern League.
In December 1995 Dini resigned as Prime Minister and the President of the Republic, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, decided to begin consultations to form a government, substained by all the parties in the Parliament to make constitutional reforms. Favourably to this proposal sided both, in a TV debate on 19 January 1996, Silvio Berlusconi and Democratic Party of the Left leader Massimo D'Alema. Although there were many problems on this theme in both coalition: in fact Gianfranco Fini and Romano Prodi wanted a snap election, not sure that the reforms would be helpful for the country. On 16 February 1996, a snap election was called.
On 19 February 1996, the outgoing Prime Minister Lamberto Dini announced that he would run in the election with a new party allied with The Olive Tree rather than Berlusconi's Pole of Freedoms. Shortly after Berlusconi claimed that Dini "copied our electoral programme".
Another important declaration was Umberto Bossi's one: the leader of the regionalist Northern League, which was very important in 1994 to help Berlusconi winning the election, said that his party would not support Berlusconi anymore and run alone in the election. At the same time, Prodi's coalition made an important pre-electoral agreement with Communist Refoundation Party in which Fausto Bertinotti's party undertook to support Prodi's government after the election in the case of a no-majority Parliament.
On 25 March 1996, Berlusconi organised a great manifestation in Milan against taxes (The Tax Day) attended by lot of Milanese artisans; on the same day, in Turin, Prodi was heavily contested during his electoral speech and accused of not wanting to lower taxes.
Main coalitions and partiesEdit
|Portrait||Name||Most recent position||Refs|
Results for the Chamber of DeputiesEdit
|The Olive Tree||Democratic Party of the Left (PDS)||7,894,118||21.06||26||15,747,455||42.01||146||172||+48|
|Populars for Prodi (PPI–UD–PRI–SVP)||2,554,072||6.81||4||65||69||+18|
|Italian Renewal (incl. Patto and SI)||1,627,380||4.34||8||18||26||New|
|Federation of the Greens (FdV)||938,665||2.50||0||14||14||+3|
|The Network (Rete)||N/A||N/A||0||3||3||−5|
|Ladin Autonomist Union (UAL)||N/A||N/A||0||1||1||+1|
|Communist Refoundation Party (PRC)||3,213,748||8.57||20||982,505||2.62||15||35||−3|
|South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP)||N/A||N/A||0||156,708||0.42||3||3||±0|
|Aosta Valley (VdA)||N/A||N/A||0||37,431||0.10||1||1||±0|
|Pole for Freedoms||Forza Italia (FI)||7,712,149||20.57||37||15,027,030||40.08||86||123||−9|
|National Alliance (AN)||5,870,491||15.66||28||65||93||−17|
|CCD – CDU||2,189,563||5.84||12||28||30||–|
|Northern League (LN)||3,776,354||10.07||20||4,038,239||10.77||39||59||−59|
|Southern Action League (LAM)||72,062||0.19||0||82,373||0.22||1||1||±0|
|Democratic Party of the Left||21.06||7,894,118||26|
|Communist Refoundation Party||8.57||3,213,748||20|
|Populars for Prodi (PPI–UD–PRI–SVP)||6.81||2,554,072||4|
|Christian Democratic Centre–United Christian Democrats||5.84||2,189,563||12|
|Federation of the Greens||2.50||938,665||0|
|Southern Action League||0.19||72,062||0|
|Union for South Tyrol||0.15||55,548||0|
|We the Sicilians – National Sicilian Front||0.11||41,001||0|
|Sardinian Action Party||0.10||38,002||0|
|Source: Ministry of the Interior|
|Parties and coalitions||%||Votes||Seats|
|Pole for Freedoms||40.09||15,027,030||169|
|The Olive Tree||38.54||14,447,548||228|
|The Olive Tree–Lega Autonomia Veneta||2.66||997,534||14|
|The Olive Tree–Sardinian Action Party||0.72||269,047||4|
|South Tyrolean People's Party||0.42||156,708||3|
|Southern Action League||0.22||82,373||1|
Results for the Senate of the RepublicEdit
|The Olive Tree||Democratic Party of the Left (PDS)||13,434,607||41.18||134||23||98||+22|
|Italian People's Party (PPI)||27||−4|
|Federation of the Greens (FdV)||14||+7|
|Italian Renewal (RI)||11||+11|
|Italian Republican Party (PRI)||2||+2|
|The Network (Rete)||1||−5|
|Venetian Autonomy League (LAV)||1||+1|
|Democratic Union (UD)||1||+1|
|Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az)||1||+1|
|The Fir (SVP)||178,425||0.55||2||0||2||−1|
|Aosta Valley (UV)||27,493||0.08||1||0||1||±0|
|Pole for Freedoms||Forza Italia (FI)||12,185,020||37.35||67||49||47||+12|
|National Alliance (AN)||43||−5|
|Christian Democratic Centre (CCD)||15||+3|
|United Christian Democrats (CDU)||10||+10|
|Northern League (LN)||3,394,733||10.41||18||9||27||−33|
|Tricolour Flame (FT)||747,487||2.29||0||1||1||+1|
|Socialist Party (PS)||286,426||0.88||0||0||0||New|
|Lombard Autonomy League (LAL)||106,313||0.33||0||0||0||−1|
|North-East Union (UNE)||72,541||0.22||0||0||0||New|
|We the Sicilians – National Sicilian Front (NS–FNS)||71,841||0.22||0||0||0||±0|
|Southern Action League (LAM)||66,750||0.20||0||0||0||±0|
|Greens Greens (VV)||61,434||0.19||0||0||0||±0|
|Pensioners' Party (PP)||60,640||0.19||0||0||0||±0|
|Sardinia Nation (SN)||44,713||0.14||0||0||0||±0|
On election day, Prodi's Olive Tree coalition won over Berlusconi's Pole for Freedoms, becoming the first coalition composed by a post-communist party to win general election since the Second World War. In the Senate The Olive Tree obtained the majority, but in the Chamber it required the external support of Communist Refoundation Party.
|The Olive Tree||Romano Prodi||55,830||60.8|
|Pole for Freedoms||Filippo Berselli||35,972||39.2|
|Pole for Freedoms||Silvio Berlusconi||46,098||51.5|
|The Olive Tree||Michele Salvati||32,464||36.3|
|Northern League||Umberto Bossi||10,179||11.4|
- Prodi dall'Annunziata
- La vittoria di Prodi nel 1996
- I manifesti elettorali di Silvio Berlusconi dal 1994 ad oggi
- Prodi–Berlusconi, vigilia di duello. Leader in ritiro, si limano le regole
- Pontida 1996, il discorso di Umberto Bossi sulla nascita della Padania
- 1996, quando la Lega era pro-euro
- Fausto Bertinotti e Giuliano Ferrara da Bruno Vespa
- Silvio Berlusconi e Fausto Bertinotti da Lucia Annunziata
- Pannella a Porta a Porta nel 1996
- Pannella, una vita da radicale
- Including 8 deputies of the Movement of Unitarian Communists (MCU), 6 deputies of the Labour Federation (FL), 5 deputies of the Social Christians (CS), one deputy of the Republican Left (SR) and one deputy of the Italian Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI)
- Including 5 deputies of the Democratic Union (UD) and 2 deputies of the Italian Republican Party (PRI)
- Including 8 deputies of Segni Pact (Patto), 7 deputies of the Italian Socialists (SI) and one deputy of the Democratic Italian Movement (MID)
- Including 3 deputies of the Union of the Centre (UdC)
- 19 deputies of CCD and 11 deputies of CDU
- One Senator immediately switched to the Progressives (PRC).
- One Senator of the PRC was elected under The Olive Tree.
- Not including the Senator of the Pannella-Sgarbi List which associated with Forza Italia.
- This Senator associated with Forza Italia.
- (in Italian) Minister of Internal Affairs of Italy: 1996 Election Results, Chamber of Deputies (compressed ZIP file)
- (in Italian) Minister of Internal Affairs of Italy: 1996 Election Results, Senate of the Republic (compressed ZIP file)