2020 Italian constitutional referendum

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Italian constitutional referendum
20–21 September 2020

Do you approve the text of the Constitutional Law concerning 'Amendments to articles 56, 57 and 59 of the Constitution concerning the reduction of the number of parliamentarians' approved by Parliament and published in the Official Gazette no. 240 of 12 October 2019?
Votes %
☑Y Yes 17,913,089 69.96%
☒N No 7,692,007 30.04%
Valid votes 25,605,096 98.29%
Invalid or blank votes 445,130 1.71%
Total votes 26,050,226 100.00%
Eligible to vote/turnout 50,955,985 51.12%

Italia referendum constituzionale 2020 – risultati regione.svg
Results by region

A constitutional referendum about the reduction of the size of the Italian Parliament was held in Italy on 20 and 21 September 2020.[1] Initially scheduled to be held on 29 March, the referendum was postponed following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy, and the consequent lockdown.[2][3][4]

Voters were asked whether they approved a constitutional law that would amend the Italian Constitution in various aspects, most notably by reducing the number of MPs in the Parliament from 630 to 400 in the Chamber of Deputies and from 315 to 200 in the Senate.[5] The proposed changes were approved, with 69.96% voting in favour. The reduction of the number of MPs is expected to happen with the next Italian general election, which is scheduled to take place no later than 28 May 2023.

The approved bill was one of the two constitutional reforms to be approved by a popular vote in Italy, together with the 2001 referendum.[6] Two previous reforms had been rejected by referendums in 2006 and 2016.[7]

Political background[edit source | edit]

In 2016, the Partito Democratico-led (PD) coalition government proposed a series of constitutional reforms with the aim of reducing the total number of parliamentarians, simplifying the legislative process, limiting the operating costs of the institutions, the disestablishment of the National Council for Economics and Labour (CNEL), and removing the perfect bicameralism in particular by greatly reducing the size and scope of the Senate.[8] The proposal was rejected by 59% of voters through a constitutional referendum, prompting the resignation of the then Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.

In 2019, the PD-M5S coalition government proposed new constitutional reforms which simply called for the reduction of the number of parliamentarians by a third; the bill was approved with the support of all the major political parties on 8 October 2019.[8] The proposal was a main 2018 campaign promise by the Five Star Movement in an effort to reduce the costs of politics and to slash privileges for lawmakers, with the total reduction in costs for the taxpayers being estimated between 285 and 500 million euros per five-year parliamentary term.[8] Pursuing the reform was also made a part of the coalition deal between the parties.[9] However, critics have slammed these numbers as petty figures, and argue that the reduction in the number of lawmakers would decrease democratic representation, lowering the number of lawmakers per 100,000 inhabitants from 1.6 to 1. This compares to Germany's 0.9 ratio, France's 1.4 ratio, and the United Kingdom's 2.1 ratio.[8]

Proposed changes[edit source | edit]

Provinces of Italy (grey borders), within Regions (solid borders)
Electoral package sent to an Italian voter in Chile

The proposed constitutional law would amend Article 56 of the Constitution by reducing the number of Deputies from 630, twelve of which are elected in the overseas constituencies, to 400, with eight to be elected in the overseas constituencies.[10] According to Paragraph 3 of the Article, the subdivision of seats among the electoral districts is obtained by dividing the number of inhabitants of the country – given by the latest general census of the population – by a factor of 392 (also changed by the new law from the previous factor of 618) and distributing the seats in proportion to the population in each electoral district, on the basis of whole shares and the highest remainders. The number of seats assigned to the overseas constituencies forms an exception to this rule.[11]

The new law would also amend Article 57 of the Constitution by reducing the number of Senators from 315, six of which are elected in the overseas constituencies, to 200, with four to be elected in the overseas constituencies.[10] The senators are elected on a regional basis and no Region or Autonomous Province would have fewer than 3 (down from 7) senators, with the exception of Molise and Aosta Valley, which will respectively have two and one senators. Paragraph 4 would also be changed, to state that the subdivision of seats among the Regions and Autonomous Provinces – in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Paragraph – is made in proportion to their population given by the latest general census of the population, on the basis of whole shares and the highest remainders.[10]

Article 59 of the Constitution would be changed by limiting the total number of incumbent life senators who can be appointed by the President of Italy to five. Previously, the provision governing the number of life senators was ambiguous, and had been interpreted as allowing each president to appoint five each, cumulating to a total above five.[10]

The changes to Articles 56 and 57 would take effect after either the end of the current legislature, or at the next dissolution of Parliament, and not earlier than 60 days after the promulgation of the constitutional law.[10]

Campaign positions[edit source | edit]

As discussed above, the proposed changes to the constitution would reduce the number of seats per electoral district for both Chambers of Parliament and thus increase the number of votes required to win a seat. This explains why they are opposed by most minor parties, with the exception of those that can count on a small but solid electoral base, such as the regional South Tyrolean People's Party, which would see their influence in Parliament increase.[11][10][12]

Committees[edit source | edit]

Choice Campaign Slogan Spokesperson Website
☑Y Yes YES of the Liberties! Il sì delle Libertà Silvia Ferrara and Pietro Paganini www.ilsidelleliberta.it
☒N No NOstra! NOstra! Jacopo Ricci www.comitatonostra.it
We NO! Noi NO Andrea Pruiti Ciarello noino.eu
Democrats for the No Democratici per il No Giovanni Lattanzi democraticiperilno.it
Solidary Network in defense of the Constitution Rete Solidale in difesa della Costituzione Marina Calamo Specchia N/A
Popular Committee for the No to the parliamentarians cut Comitato popolare per il No al taglio dei parlamentari Piero Pirovano iovotono.eu
3 Reasons for the No 3 motivi per il No Stefano D'Andrea 3-motivi-per-il-no0.webnode.it
Committee for the NO on changes to the Constitution to reduce the number of parliamentarians Comitato per il NO sulle modifiche alla Costituzione per la riduzione del numero dei Parlamentari Massimo Villone coordinamentodemocraziacostituzionale.it
Committee for the NO to the Counter-reform Comitato per il No alla Controriforma Massimiliano Iervolino radicali.it/campagne/no-alla-controriforma/
LET'S START WITH NO — Committee for the NO to the referendum on the cut of parliamentarians COMINCIAMO DAL NO — Comitato per il NO al referendum sul taglio dei parlamentari Simona Viola piueuropa.eu/2020/02/22/comitatodelno/

Political parties[edit source | edit]

Choice Parties Political orientation Leader Ref
☑Y Yes style="background-color: Template:Lega Nord/meta/color" | League (Lega) Right-wing populism Matteo Salvini [13]
style="background-color:Template:Five Star Movement/meta/color"| Five Star Movement (M5S) Populism Luigi Di Maio [14]
style="background-color: Template:Democratic Party (Italy)/meta/color" | Democratic Party (PD) Social democracy Nicola Zingaretti [15]
style="background-color:Template:Brothers of Italy/meta/color"| Brothers of Italy (FdI) National conservatism Giorgia Meloni [16]
Style="background:Template:Article One/meta/color"| Article One (Art. 1) Social democracy Roberto Speranza [17]
style="background-color:Template:South Tyrolean People's Party/meta/color"| South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) Regionalism Arno Kompatscher [18]
Style="background:Template:Cambiamo!/meta/color"| Cambiamo! (C!) Liberal conservatism Giovanni Toti [19]
Die Freiheitlichen Tyrolean Separatism Otto Mahlknecht [20]
Fatherland and Constitution (PeC) Left-wing nationalism Stefano Fassina [21]
Party of Venetians (PdV) Venetian nationalism Alessio Morosin [22]
bgcolor="Template:Valdostan Union/meta/color"| Valdostan Union (UV) Autonomism Regionalism Érik Lavévaz [23]
Uncertain style="background-color:Template:Italia Viva/meta/color"| Italia Viva (IV) Liberalism Matteo Renzi [24]
style="background-color:Template:Forza Italia (2013)/meta/color" | Forza Italia (FI) Liberal conservatism Silvio Berlusconi [25]
☒N No style="background-color:Template:Action (Italy)/meta/color"| Action (Azione) Social liberalism Carlo Calenda [26]
style="background:Template:Italian Left/meta/color"| Italian Left (SI) Democratic socialism Nicola Fratoianni [27]
style="background-color:Template:More Europe/meta/color"| More Europe (+Eu) Liberalism Benedetto Della Vedova [28]
style="background:Template:Federation of the Greens/meta/color"| Federation of the Greens (FdV) Green politics collective leadership [29]
style="background-color: Template:Italy in Common/meta/color" | Italy in Common (IiC) Progressivism Federico Pizzarotti [30]
bgcolor="Template:Power to the People (Italy)/meta/color" | Power to the People (PaP) Socialism Viola Carofalo [31]
style="background-color: Template:Italian Socialist Party (2007)/meta/color" | Italian Socialist Party (PSI) Social democracy Enzo Maraio [32]
style="background-color:Template:Energies for Italy/meta/color"| Energies for Italy (EpI) Liberalism Stefano Parisi [33]
style="background:Template:Volt Europa/meta/color" | Volt Italia European federalism Federica Vinci [34]
style="background-color: Template:Associative Movement Italians Abroad/meta/color" | Associative Movement Italians Abroad (MAIE) Interests of Italians abroad Ricardo Antonio Merlo [35]
style="background-color: Template:South American Union Italian Emigrants/meta/color" | South American Union Italian Emigrants (USEI) Interests of Italians abroad Eugenio Sangregorio [36]
style="background-color: Template:Communist Party (Italy)/meta/color" | Communist Party (PC) Communism Marco Rizzo [37]
style="background-color: Template:Democratic Centre (Italy)/meta/color" | Democratic Centre (CD) Christian left Bruno Tabacci [38]
style="background-color: Template:Communist Refoundation Party/meta/color" | Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) Communism Maurizio Acerbo [39]
Christian Democracy (DC) Christian democracy Renato Grassi [40]
style="background-color: Template:Party of Italian Communists/meta/color" | Italian Communist Party (PCI) Communism Mauro Alboresi [41]
Pact for Autonomy (PpA) Autonomism Massimo Moretuzzo [42]
Italian Marxist–Leninist Party (PMLI) Maoism Giovanni Scuderi [43]
Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party (PATT) Autonomism Regionalism Simone Marchiori [44]
Venetian Left (Sanca) Autonomism Venetian nationalism Andrea Mion [45]
bgcolor="Template:Union for Trentino/meta/color"| Union for Trentino (UpT) Autonomism Christian Democracy Annalisa Caumo [46]

Opinion polls[edit source | edit]

Date Polling Firm Sample size Total Considering only Yes/No vote
☑YYes ☒NNo None / Don't know Lead ☑YYes ☒NNo Lead
2–4 Sep 2020 SWG 1,000 70.0 30.0 N/A 40.0 70.0 30.0 40.0
1–3 Sep 2020 Ixè 1,000 51.3 17.9 30.8 33.4 74.1 25.9 48.2
1–3 Sep 2020 Ipsos 1,000 58.9 24.1 17.0 34.8 71.0 29.0 42.0
31 Aug 2020 Euromedia N/A 42.0 15.8 42.2 24.2 72.7 27.3 45.4
23–27 Aug 2020 BiDiMedia 1,661 71.0 29.0 N/A 42.0 71.0 29.0 42.0
24–26 Aug 2020 Demos & Pi 1,014 82.0 18.0 N/A 64.0 82.0 18.0 64.0
14–17 Aug 2020 Lab2101 1,000 72.4 27.6 N/A 44.8 72.4 27.6 44.8
22–23 Jul 2020 Ipsos 1,000 49.0 8.0 43.0 41.0 86.0 14.0 72.0
23–25 Jun 2020 Ipsos 1,000 46.0 10.0 44.0 36.0 82.0 18.0 64.0
20–22 Feb 2020 Piepoli 503 81.0 9.0 10.0 72.0 90.0 10.0 80.0
13 Jan 2020 Euromedia 800 75.1 10.7 14.2 64.4 87.5 12.5 75.0
9–14 Dec 2019 Demos&Pi 1,212 86.0 12.0 2.0 74.0 86.0 14.0 72.0
8 Oct 2019
The Parliament approves the constitutional reform bill
7–8 Oct 2019 Demopolis 1,500 80.0 12.0 8.0 68.0 87.0 13.0 74.0

Results[edit source | edit]

A facsimile of the electoral ballot

The referendum resulted in a victory of the "Yes" with a majority of 70.0% of the vote. The voter turnout was 51.12%. The "Yes" was the winning choice by a large margin in all Italian regions.[47] As a result, the next Italian legislature will have 400 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 200 Senators, and a maximum of five appointed senators for life, plus the former presidents of Italy.[12]

Luigi Di Maio, foreign minister and former leader of the M5S, defined the results "a historical result". The secretary of the PD, Nicola Zingaretti, said that "the victory of the 'Yes' opens up a season of reforms". Riccardo Molinari, party leader of the League in the Chamber of Deputies, asked for the parliament to be dissolved and new elections to be held, in order to fulfill the objective of the constitutional law.[48]

Choice Votes %
☑Y Yes 17,913,089 69.96
☒N No 7,692,007 30.04
Invalid/blank votes 445,130 1.71
Total 26,050,226 100.00
Registered voters/turnout 50,955,985 51.12
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote
☑Y Yes
☒N No

Results by region[edit source | edit]

Turnout[edit source | edit]

Area Time
20 Sep 21 Sep
12:00 19:00 23:00 15:00
Italy 12.25% 29.70% 39.38% 53.84%
Abruzzo 10.61% 27.31% 36.47% 50.79%
Basilicata 9.40% 24.36% 36.96% 50.14%
Calabria 8.62% 22.44% 32.42% 45.18%
Campania 12.46% 29.36% 42.78% 61.04%
Emilia-Romagna 14.16% 32.99% 41.59% 55.37%
Friuli Venezia Giulia 12.40% 28.31% 36.34% 50.22%
Lazio 10.87% 25.25% 33.06% 45.65%
Liguria 15.43% 35.47% 44.04% 59.15%
Lombardy 12.43% 30.91% 39.01% 51.36%
Marche 14.90% 36.65% 47.56% 66.38%
Molise 9.76% 24.18% 33.33% 47.48%
Piedmont 12.02% 30.69% 38.81% 51.56%
Apulia 13.22% 30.28% 43.74% 61.91%
Sardinia 7.76% 17.02% 23.41% 35.70%
Sicily 6.41% 16.96% 24.78% 35.38%
Tuscany 15.44% 38.17% 48.29% 65.88%
Trentino-Alto Adige 16.04% 40.50% 54.42% 70.94%
Umbria 9.56% 25.16% 33.09% 48.75%
Aosta Valley 18.24% 44.35% 56.37% 72.44%
Veneto 16.31% 39.27% 51.04% 67.54%
Abroad N/A N/A N/A 23.30%
Africa, Asia, Oceania, Antarctica N/A N/A N/A 19.75%
South America N/A N/A N/A 23.95%
North and Central Americas N/A N/A N/A 22.49%
Europe N/A N/A N/A 23.39%
Source: Ministry of the Interior – Turnout

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "Il 20 e 21 settembre ci sarà il referendum sul taglio del numero dei parlamentari" (in Italian). Il Post. 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  2. "Coronavirus, salta anche il referendum sul taglio dei parlamentari - Secolo d'Italia". Secoloditalia.it. 23 February 1976. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  3. "Indetto per il 29 marzo il referendum costituzionale". Dipartimento per gli affari interni e territoriali (in Italian). 30 January 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  4. "Cabinet sets March 29 for referendum on MP cut - sources - English". ANSA.it. 27 January 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  5. "Il referendum sul taglio dei parlamentari si terrà il 29 marzo". la Repubblica (in Italian). 27 January 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  6. Referendum, vince il "sì". Riforma approvata al 64,2%, la Repubblica
  7. Referendum costituzionale, i precedenti, Agenzia ANSA
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Italian lawmakers want fewer Italian lawmakers". Politico.
  9. "Italy to vote on streamlining parliament". France 24. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 "Official Gazzette, General Series 240 of 12-10-2019". Official Gazette of the Italian Republic.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "The Italian Constitution". The official website of the Presidency of the Italian Republic.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Borrelli, Silvia Sciorilli (8 October 2019). "Italian lawmakers want fewer Italian lawmakers". Politico. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  13. "Salvini,invitiamo a votare sì referendum" (in Italian). ANSA. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  14. Di Maio, Luigi (19 December 2019). "Pronti per il #referendum sul taglio del parlamentari!". Il Blog delle Stelle (in Italian). Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  15. "Referendum, il Pd si schiera ufficialmente per il Sì al taglio dei parlamentari. Zingaretti: "Un voto per cambiare e fare le riforme"". Il Fatto Quotidiano (in Italian). Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  16. "Riforme, Meloni: In caso di referendum confermativo FdI chiederà agli italiani di votare sì" (in Italian).
  17. "Le ragioni del nostro sì al taglio dei parlamentari spiegate ai critici (tardivi)". Articolo 1 MDP (in Italian). 9 October 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  18. "Anche Svp favorevole al taglio dei parlamentari" (in Italian). Il Messaggero. 14 July 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  19. "Toti: taglio parlamentari è un segnale ma risparmio è modesto" (in Italian). Askanews. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  20. "Referendum zur Verkleinerung des römischen Parlaments: Stimme mit "JA"". Official Instagram Account Die Freiheitlichen (in German). Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  21. "Le condizioni per il Sì e per la prospettiva politica con M5S". HuffPost.
  22. "Referendum per il taglio dei parlamentari, Morosin: «Con queste legge elettorale tanto vale ridurli»". VeronaSera (in Italian). Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  23. "Referendum: Tutti i dubbi e le posizioni". Yahoo Notizie (in Italian). Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  24. "Renzi: "Libertà di voto. Conte prenda il Mes se vuole fare il premier"". La Repubblica. 27 August 2020.
  25. "Referendum, il fronte del No in piazza il 12 settembre. Berlusconi: "Libertà di voto"". la Repubblica (in Italian). 1 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  26. Calenda, Carlo [@CarloCalenda] (21 December 2019). "Sulla #prescrizione - come su ILVA, il taglio dei parlamentari, i decreti sicurezza, quota 100, il reddito di cittadinanza - quello che colpisce è il silenzio dei progressisti mentre avallano la linea #M5S. Quand'è che direte basta? @pdnetwork @ItaliaViva" (Tweet) (in Italian) – via Twitter.
  27. "Dietro al taglio dei parlamentari il morbo del antiparlamentarismo". Sinistra Italiana (in Italian). 8 February 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  28. "Riduzione del numero dei parlamentari. Una riforma che lascia milioni di italiani senza rappresentanza". Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  30. "Italia in Comune sostiene il referendum contro riduzione parlamentari" (in Italian). Roma Daily News. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  31. "Il taglio ai parlamentari è un taglio a democrazia e rappresentanza: le nostre contro-proposte!". Potere al Popolo (in Italian). 7 October 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  32. "Riforme. PSI aderisce a raccolta firme contro taglio parlamentari. Maraio: "Approntare modifiche"". Partito Socialista Italiano (in Italian). Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  33. Parisi, Stefano [@s_parisi] (19 December 2019). "Voteremo No a #Referendum perché #taglioparlamentari è pura demagogia. Tutti, destra e sinistra, hanno votato la legge voluta da Di Maio. Tutti, ad eccezione di @Piu_Europa, hanno dimostrato di essere subalterni al populismo dei 5 Stelle. Ora No a referendum confermativo!" (Tweet) (in Italian) – via Twitter.
  34. "Sono pochi i partiti e i movimenti che si sono già "messi al lavoro" in vista della tornata referendaria del 29 marzo". Prima Monza (in Italian). 12 February 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  35. "TAGLIO PARLAMENTARI: I SEI ELETTI ALL'ESTERO FIRMANO PER IL REFERENDUM". Agenzia Internazionale Stampa Estero (in Italian). 19 December 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  36. ""Vota NO" al referendum constitucional popular y confirmativo para la reducción de parlamentarios". Agenzia Internazionale Stampa Estero (in Spanish). 21 August 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  37. "Referendum, il comunista Rizzo: "Affonda i 5 Stelle, vota no"". Affari Italiani. 25 August 2020.
  38. "Sanza, il taglio dei parlamentari è l'ennesima battaglia per "indorare" l'opinione pubblica". Il Centro Democratico (in Italian). 10 October 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  39. "Russo Spena: Votiamo no al referendum costituzionale del 29 marzo 2020". Rifondazione.it (in Italian). 13 February 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  40. "La Democrazia Cristiana aderisce al "Comitato per il NO" al taglio dei parlamentari". Sito Ufficiale della Democrazia Cristiana (in Italian). Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  41. "La Democrazia prima di tutto". Il Partito Comunista Italiano (in Italian). 30 January 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  42. "Taglio dei parlamentari, verso il referendum schieramenti in campo" (in Italian). Rai News. 15 February 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  43. "Appello di laici e religiosi sul referendum. Votare No per respingere lo "sfregio alla democrazia costituzionale"" [Vote No to reject the “affront to the constitutional democracy”] (in Italian). 8 July 2020. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020.
  44. "PATT: "Al referendum costituzionale invitiamo a votare NO!"" (in Italian). Agenzia Giornalistica Opinione. 6 September 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  45. "Sanca Venta dice no al taglio dei parlamentari" (in Italian). VicenzaPiù. 9 September 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  46. "Partiti divisi sul Taglio dei Parlamentari". Trentino (in Italian). Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  47. "Al referendum ha vinto il sì: l'Italia avrà meno parlamentari". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 21 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  48. "Referendum, vince il Sì. Zingaretti: "Al via riforme". Di Maio: "Ora proporzionale". Salvini: "Sarebbe morte della politica"". la Repubblica (in Italian). 21 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.

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