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2020 Italian constitutional referendum

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Template:Expand Italian Template:Infobox referendum

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
noaltagliodelparlamento.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
69.96%
☒N No
30.04%

Results by region[edit source | edit]


Turnout[edit source | edit]

Area Time
20 Sep 21 Sep
12:00 19:00 23:00 15:00
Nationwide
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
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]

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  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 Lua error in ...ribunto/includes/engines/LuaCommon/lualib/mwInit.lua at line 23: bad argument #1 to 'old_ipairs' (table expected, got nil).
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