1946 Italian general election

General elections were held in Italy on Sunday, 2 June 1946.[1] They were the first after World War II and elected 556 deputies to the Constituent Assembly. Theoretically, a total of 573 deputies were to be elected, but the election did not take place in the Julian March and in South Tyrol, which were under military occupation by the United Nations.

1946 Italian general election

← 1934 2 June 1946 1948 →

All 556 seats in the Constituent Assembly
279 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Alcide de Gasperi 2.jpg
Pietro Nenni 2.jpg
Palmiro Togliatti (cropped).png
Leader Alcide De Gasperi Pietro Nenni Palmiro Togliatti
Party Christian Democracy Socialist Party Communist Party
Seats won 207 115 104
Popular vote 8,101,004 4,758,129 4,356,686
Percentage 35.21% 20.68% 18.93%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Luigi Einaudi.jpg
Randolfo Pacciardi (2).jpg
Leader Luigi Einaudi Guglielmo Giannini Randolfo Pacciardi
Party National Democratic Union Common Man's Front Republican Party
Seats won 41 30 23
Popular vote 1,560,638 1,211,956 1,003,007
Percentage 6.78% 5.27% 4.36%

1946 Italian general election - Results.svg
Results of the election by province.

Prime Minister before election

Alcide De Gasperi
Christian Democracy

Prime Minister after the election

Alcide De Gasperi
Christian Democracy

For the first time, Italian women were allowed to vote in a national election. It was held concurrently with the 1946 Italian institutional referendum on the abolition of the monarchy.

Electoral systemEdit

To emphasise the restoration of democracy after the fascist era, a pure party-list proportional representation was chosen. Italian provinces were united in 31 constituencies, each electing a group of candidates.[2] At constituency level, seats were divided between open lists using the largest remainder method with the Imperiali quota. Remaining votes and seats were transferred at national level, where special closed lists of national leaders received the last seats using the Hare quota.


At the end of World War II, Italy was governed under transitional laws as a result of agreements between the National Liberation Committee (CLN) and the royal Lieutenant General of the Realm Umberto II of Italy. As no democratic elections had taken place for more than 20 years, legislative power was given to the government but, after the first election, the Italian Council of Ministers would have to receive a vote of confidence by the new Constituent Assembly.

The three main contestants were Christian Democracy and the Italian Socialist Party, which had both received popular support before the fascist era, and the Italian Communist Party, which had strengthened itself with the armed struggle against Nazism and fascism during the war. The Italian Liberal Party, heir of the pre-fascist and conservative ruling class, proposed an alliance called National Democratic Union. Monarchists groups created the National Bloc of Freedom, while the liberal socialist Action Party and Labour Democratic Party hoped to maximize the positive image of the governments that they ruled in the National Liberation Committee.

Parties and leadersEdit

Party Ideology Leader
Christian Democracy (DC) Christian democracy, Popularism Alcide De Gasperi
Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (PSIUP) Socialism, Democratic socialism Pietro Nenni
Italian Communist Party (PCI) Communism, Marxism-Leninism Palmiro Togliatti
National Democratic Union (UDN) Liberalism, Conservatism Luigi Einaudi
Common Man's Front (UQ) Populism, Conservatism Guglielmo Giannini
Italian Republican Party (PRI) Republicanism, Social liberalism Randolfo Pacciardi
National Bloc of Freedom (BNL) Conservatism, Monarchism Alfredo Covelli
Action Party (PdA) Republicanism, Liberal socialism Ugo La Malfa


The election gave a large majority to the government formed by the three leaders of the CLN, which was briefly joined by the Republican Party after the exile of Umberto II. The alliance lasted for a year.

Christian Democracy8,101,00435.21207
Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity4,758,12920.68115
Italian Communist Party4,356,68618.93104
National Democratic Union1,560,6386.7841
Common Man's Front1,211,9565.2730
Italian Republican Party1,003,0074.3623
National Bloc of Freedom637,3282.7716
Action Party334,7481.457
Movement for the Independence of Sicily171,2010.744
Peasants' Party of Italy102,3930.441
Republican Democratic Concentration97,6900.422
Sardinian Action Party78,5540.342
Italian Unionist Movement71,0210.311
Social Christian Party51,0880.221
Labour Democratic Party40,6330.181
National Reconstruction Movement39,7480.170
Independent Democratic Union of Labour36,3980.160
Italian Republican Alliance34,3630.150
Italian Monarchical Alliance30,5050.130
Italian Monarchical Democratic Movement30,0170.130
Party of the Italian Veteran24,7640.110
Internationalist Communist Party22,6440.100
Republican Progressive Democratic Front[a]21,8530.091
National Concentration of Combatants and Veterans21,5700.090
Union of Combatants, Partisans, Veterans and Prisoner Families14,3830.060
National Union Party12,7460.060
Fighters and Independents Group12,1650.050
Patriotic Monarchist Renewing Party11,0980.050
Sardinian League10,4990.050
Sicilian Independent Labour Party10,2460.040
National War Victims Union10,2360.040
Veterans Partisans8,6900.040
Independent Workers Movement8,5960.040
Italian Pacifist League6,3330.030
Independent Sicilians of the Left5,7060.020
Union for the Renaissance of the South5,3730.020
Italian Political Centre5,0630.020
Italian Centre4,5160.020
Italian Liberal Party4,0520.020
Italian Labour Party3,8910.020
Socialist Republican Party3,6110.020
National Deployment2,7810.010
Socialist Reformist Party2,2340.010
Political Group of Italians from Sicily, Africa and the Mediterranean1,9950.010
Garibaldian Antifascist Partisan Movement of Italy1,9220.010
Independent Internationalist Communist Union1,7760.010
Young Italy9850.000
Italian Progressive Party7800.000
Autonomous Republican Party6830.000
General Confederation of Italian Feminists for Work6620.000
Valid votes23,010,47992.24
Invalid/blank votes1,936,7087.76
Total votes24,947,187100.00
Registered voters/turnout28,005,44989.08
Source: Ministry of Interior

By constituencyEdit

Constituency Total
Seats won
Turin 25 9 9 6 1
Cuneo 16 7 4 3 1 1
Genoa 16 6 5 5
Milan 34 12 12 9 1
Como 12 6 5 1
Brescia 15 9 4 2
Mantua 8 3 3 2
Trentino 4 3 1
Verona 27 15 8 4
Venice 13 7 4 2
Udine 11 6 4 1
Bologna 22 4 7 9 2
Parma 19 6 6 7
Florence 12 4 3 5
Pisa 13 5 3 4 1
Siena 8 2 2 4
Ancona 13 5 3 3 2
Perugia 9 3 2 3 1
Rome 29 11 3 4 2 2 5 2
L'Aquila 12 7 2 1 1 1
Benevento 7 4 2 1
Naples 27 11 2 2 6 4 2
Avellino 12 4 1 1 3 1 1 1
Bari 18 7 2 4 1 4
Lecce 12 5 1 1 2 3
Potenza 5 2 1 1 1
Catanzaro 21 8 2 3 3 2 1 2
Catania 23 10 3 1 4 2 1 2
Palermo 21 8 3 2 3 2 1 2
Cagliari 11 6 1 1 1 2
Aosta Valley 1 1
National 80 12 9 13 11 10 9 5 7 4
Total 556 207 115 104 41 30 23 16 7 13


Seat distribution by constituency.


Together with the election, a constitutional referendum took place. Italian electors chose whether to continue the reign of Umberto II of Italy or turn Italy into a republic. While all regions of northern Italy as far as Tuscany and Marches gave a majority to the republic, all regions of southern Italy to Lazio and Abruzzo voted to maintain the monarchy.

Valid votes23,437,20793.99
Invalid/blank votes1,498,1366.01
Total votes24,935,343100.00
Registered voters/turnout28,005,44989.04
Source: Official Gazzette


  1. ^ Alliance between PSIUP, PCI, PRI and Action Party in Aosta Valley. The election happened in a single-member constituency with the first-past-the-post method, with candidate Giulio Bordon winning 51.79% of valid votes.


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ The number of seats for each constituency ranged from 1 for Aosta Valley to 36 for Milan.