1996 Italian general election

← 1994 21 April 1996 2001 →

All 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
315 seats in the Senate
Registered48,744,846 (C· 42,889,825 (S)
Turnout40,401,774 (C· 82.9% (Decrease3.4 pp)
35,260,803 (S· 82.2% (Decrease3.6 pp)
 
Romano Prodi 96.jpg
Silvio Berlusconi 1994 (cropped).jpg
Umberto Bossi 1996 (cropped).jpg
Leader Romano Prodi Silvio Berlusconi Umberto Bossi
Alliance The Olive Tree Pole for Freedoms Northern League
Leader since 6 March 1995 18 January 1994 4 December 1989
Leader's seat Bologna (C) Milan (C) Lombardy (C)[a]
Seats won 285 (C) / 157 (S) 246 (C) / 116 (S) 59 (C) / 27 (S)
Seat change Increase20 (C) / Increase4 (S) Decrease26 (C) / Decrease40 (S) Decrease58 (C) / Decrease33 (S)
Popular vote 15,747,455 (C)
13,434,607 (S)
15,027,030 (C)
12,185,020 (S)
3,776,354 (C)
3,394,733 (S)
Percentage 42.0% (C)
41.2% (S)
40.1% (C)
37.3% (S)
10.1% (C)
10.4% (S)

1996 Italian general election - Vote Strength.svg
Results of the single-member constituencies in the Chamber of Deputies (left) and Senate (right).

Prime Minister before election

Lamberto Dini
Independent

Prime Minister after the election

Romano Prodi
The Olive Tree

The 1996 Italian general election was held 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 The Olive Tree, won the election, narrowly defeating Silvio Berlusconi, who led the centre-right Pole for Freedoms.

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, 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.

Electoral system

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.

General election

Background

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, Dini was only supported by most opposition parties and not by Forza Italia and Northern League.

In December 1995, Dini resigned as Prime Minister and President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro decided to begin consultations to form a government, supported by all the parties in the Italian Parliament to make constitutional reforms. In a TV debate on 19 January 1996, both Silvio Berlusconi and Democratic Party of the Left leader Massimo D'Alema supported constitutional reforms; however, there were many problems on this theme in both coalition, as 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.

Campaign

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".[1]

Another important declaration was that of Umberto Bossi, the leader of the regionalist Northern League, which was very important in 1994 to help Berlusconi winning the election. Bossi said that his party would not support Berlusconi anymore and run alone in the election. At the same time, Prodi's coalition made a pre-electoral agreement with Communist Refoundation Party in which Fausto Bertinotti's party undertook to support Prodi's government after the election in case of no parliamentary majority.

On 25 March 1996, Berlusconi organised a manifestation in Milan against taxes (The Tax Day) attended by many Milanese artisans; on the same day in Turin, Prodi was heavily contested during his electoral speech and accused of not wanting to lower taxes.[2]

Main coalitions and parties

Coalition Party Main ideology Leader
The Olive Tree Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) Democratic socialism Massimo D'Alema
Populars for Prodi (PPIUDPRISVP) Centrism Franco Marini
Italian Renewal (RI) Liberalism Lamberto Dini
Federation of the Greens (FdV) Green politics Franco Corleone
Labour Federation (FL) Social democracy Valdo Spini
Italian Socialists (SI) Social democracy Enrico Boselli
The Network (LR) Anti-corruption politics Leoluca Orlando
Segni Pact (PS) Centrism Mario Segni
Pole for Freedoms Forza Italia (FI) Liberal conservatism Silvio Berlusconi
National Alliance (AN) National conservatism Gianfranco Fini
Christian Democratic Centre (CCD) Christian democracy Pier Ferdinando Casini
United Christian Democrats (CDU) Christian democracy Rocco Buttiglione
Northern League (LN) Regionalism Umberto Bossi
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) Communism Fausto Bertinotti
Pannella–Sgarbi List (LPS) Libertarianism Marco Pannella

Coalitions' leaders

Portrait Name Most recent position Refs
Romano Prodi 1999 (cropped).jpg
Romano Prodi
(1939– )
Leader of The Olive Tree
(1995–1998)
Other positions
[3][4]
Silvio Berlusconi 1996.jpg
Silvio Berlusconi
(1936– )
Prime Minister of Italy
(1994–1995)
Other positions
[5][6]
Umberto Bossi 1996.jpg
Umberto Bossi
(1941– )
Federal Secretary of the Northern League
(1989–2012)
Other positions
[7][8]
Fausto Bertinotti 1996.jpg
Fausto Bertinotti
(1940– )
Secretary of the Communist
Refoundation Party

(1994–2006)
Other positions
[9][10]
Marco Pannella 1992.jpg
Marco Pannella
(1930–2016)
Member of the European Parliament
(1979–2009)
Other positions
[11][12]

Results

This section is in a table format that may be better if supplemented with prose. You can help by adding a prose summary of the table(s). Editing help is available. (January 2022)

Chamber of Deputies

Overall results

Summary of the 21 April 1996 Chamber of Deputies election results
Italian Chamber of Deputies, 1996.svg
Coalition Party Proportional First-past-the-post Total
seats
+/–
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
The Olive Tree Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) 7,894,118 21.06 26 15,747,455 42.01 146 172[13] +48
Populars for Prodi (PPIUDPRISVP) 2,554,072 6.81 4 65 69[14] +18
Italian Renewal (RI) 1,627,380 4.34 8 18 26[15] New
Federation of the Greens (FdV) 938,665 2.50 0 14 14 +3
The Network (LR) 0 3 3 −5
Ladin Autonomist Union (UAL) 0 1 1 +1
Total seats 38 247 285
Pole for Freedoms Forza Italia (FI) 7,712,149 20.57 37 15,027,030 40.08 86 123[16] −9
National Alliance (AN) 5,870,491 15.66 28 65 93 −17
CCDCDU 2,189,563 5.84 12 28 30[17] +3
Total seats 77 169 246
Northern League (LN) 3,776,354 10.07 20 4,038,239 10.77 39 59 −59
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) 3,213,748 8.57 20 982,505 2.62 15 35 −3
South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) 0 156,708 0.42 3 3 ±0
Southern Action League (LAM) 72,062 0.19 0 82,373 0.22 1 1 ±0
Aosta Valley (VdA) 0 37,431 0.10 1 1 ±0
Total 630

Detailed results

First-past-the-post
Party or coalition Vote % Seats
Pole for Freedoms (PpL) 15,027,030 40.09 169
The Olive Tree (Ulivo) 14,447,548 38.54 228
Northern League (LN) 4,038,239 10.77 39
The Olive TreeVenetian Autonomy League 997,534 2.66 14
Progressives 982,505 2.62 15
Tricolour Flame (FT) 624,558 1.67 0
The Olive TreeSardinian Action Party 269,047 0.72 4
South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) 156,708 0.42 3
Southern Action League (LAM) 82,373 0.22 1
Pannella-Sgarbi List (LPS) 69,406 0.19 0
Clean Hands (MP) 68,443 0.18 0
Socialist Party (PS) 44,786 0.12 0
Sardigna Natzione (SN) 42,246 0.11 0
Aosta Valley (VdA) 37,431 0.10 1
Democracy and Freedom (DL) 33,326 0.09 1
Renovation 28,988 0.08 0
Humanist Party (PU) 27,694 0.07 0
Italian Renaissance Movement (MRI) 24,074 0.06 0
Union for South Tyrol (UfS) 23,032 0.06 0
We Sicilians – Sicilian National Front (NS–FNS) 20,102 0.05 0
Pact for the Agro 18,836 0.05 0
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) 17,996 0.05 0
Greens Greens 12,905 0.03 0
Environmentalists 12,299 0.03 0
Liberal Federalists (FL) 11,563 0.03 0
Aosta Valley for the Olive Tree 11,526 0.03 0
Social Democracy (DS) 9,760 0.03 0
North-East Union (UNE) 9,669 0.03 0
Independent Group Freedom (GIL) 8,805 0.02 0
Natural Law Party (PLN) 7,708 0.02 0
Moderates 6,208 0.02 0
New Energies 5,627 0.02 0
New Democracy (ND) 5,333 0.01 0
Development and Legality 5,275 0.01 0
For Marche 4,317 0.01 0
Resurgence of the South 4,291 0.01 0
Free North Autonomy 4,013 0.01 0
New Ways 3,904 0.01 0
State of Friuli 3,345 0.01 0
Liberist Solidal Alliance 3,219 0.01 0
Ingenuity and Audacity 2,805 0.01 0
Venetian Solidarity 2,655 0.01 0
South Pole Movement 2,310 0.01 0
Federalist Italian League (LIF) 2,268 0.01 0
Trieste Women's Pact 2,121 0.01 0
Others 71,281 0.19 0
Total 37,295,109 100.00 475
Proportional
Party Votes % Seats
Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) 7,894,118 21.06 26
Forza Italia (FI) 7,712,149 20.57 37
National Alliance (AN) 5,870,491 15.66 28
Northern League (LN) 3,776,354 10.07 20
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) 3,213,748 8.57 20
Populars for Prodi (PPIUDPRISVP) 2,554,072 6.81 4
CCDCDU 2,189,563 5.84 12
Italian Renewal (RI) 1,627,380 4.34 8
Federation of the Greens (FdV) 938,665 2.50 0
Pannella-Sgarbi List (LPS) 702,988 1.88 0
Tricolour Flame (FT) 339,351 0.91 0
Socialist Party (PS) 149,441 0.40 0
Southern Action League (LAM) 72,062 0.19 0
North-East Union (UNE) 63,934 0.17 0
Union for South Tyrol (UfS) 55,548 0.15 0
Clean Hands (MP) 44,935 0.12 0
We Sicilians – Sicilian National Front (NS–FNS) 41,001 0.11 0
Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az) 38,002 0.10 0
Greens Greens 25,788 0.07 0
Sardigna Natzione (SN) 23,355 0.06 0
Independent Group Freedom 17,451 0.05 0
Environmentalists 15,560 0.04 0
Humanist Party (PU) 14,601 0.04 0
Renovation 13,677 0.04 0
Pact for the Agro 12,297 0.03 0
Social Democracy 9,319 0.02 0
Italian Renaissance Movement (MRI) 8,886 0.02 0
Tuscan Autonomist Movement (MAT) 8,627 0.02 0
Natural Law Party (PLN) 8,298 0.02 0
New Democracy 8,185 0.02 0
Liberal Federalists (FL) 6,475 0.02 0
For Marche 5,545 0.01 0
New Energies 5,393 0.01 0
Development and Legality 5,347 0.01 0
Free North Autonomy 4,965 0.01 0
Federalist Party (PF) 3,743 0.01 0
Resurgence of the South 3,084 0.01 0
Total 100.00 37,484,398 155
Invalid/blank/unassigned votes 2,917,376
Total 40,401,774
Registered voters/turnout 82.88% 48,744,846
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote (First-past-the-post)
Ulivo
41.92%
PpL
40.09%
LN
10.77%
PRC
2.62%
FT
1.67%
Others
3.65%
Popular vote (Proportional)
PDS
21.06%
FI
20.57%
AN
15.66%
LN
10.07%
PRC
8.57%
Popolari
6.81%
CCD-CDU
5.84%
RI
4.34%
FdV
2.50%
LPS
1.88%
Others
2.68%

FPTP results by constituency

Constituency Total
seats
Seats won
Ulivo PpL LN PRC Others
Abruzzo 11 6 5
Aosta Valley 1 1
Apulia 34 16 17 1
Basilicata 5 4 1
Calabria 17 11 6
Campania 1 25 19 5 1
Campania 2 22 6 16
Emilia-Romagna 32 28 1 3
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 10 2 5 3
Lazio 1 32 21 11
Lazio 2 11 6 5
Liguria 14 9 4 1
Lombardy 1 31 9 22
Lombardy 2 32 5 7 20
Lombardy 3 11 6 5
Marche 12 9 1 2
Molise 3 2 1
Piedmont 1 19 18 1
Piedmont 2 17 5 11 1
Sardinia 14 7 6 1
Sicily 1 20 5 15
Sicily 2 21 5 16
Trentino-Alto Adige 8 4 1 3
Tuscany 29 24 1 4
Umbria 7 6 1
Veneto 1 22 8 6 8
Veneto 2 15 6 1 7 1
Total 475 247 169 39 15 9

PR results by constituency

Constituency Total
seats
Seats won
PpL Ulivo LN PRC
Abruzzo 3 1 1 1
Apulia 10 7 2 1
Basilicata 2 1 1
Calabria 6 4 1 1
Campania 1 8 6 2
Campania 2 7 3 3 1
Emilia-Romagna 10 5 3 2
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 3 1 1 1
Lazio 1 10 6 2 2
Lazio 2 5 3 1 1
Liguria 5 2 1 1 1
Lombardy 1 10 2 3 3 2
Lombardy 2 9 4 2 3
Lombardy 3 4 1 1 1 1
Marche 4 3 1
Molise 1 1
Piedmont 1 6 3 1 1 1
Piedmont 2 7 2 2 2 1
Sardinia 4 2 1 1
Sicily 1 7 3 3 1
Sicily 2 7 4 2 1
Trentino-Alto Adige 2 1 1
Tuscany 10 6 2 1 1
Umbria 2 2
Veneto 1 8 3 2 2 1
Veneto 2 5 2 1 2
Total 155 77 38 20 20

Senate of the Republic

Overall results

Summary of the 21 April 1996 Senate of the Republic election results
Italian Senate, 1996.svg
Coalition Party First-past-the-post Proportional
Seats
Total
seats
+/–
Votes % Seats
The Olive Tree Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) 13,434,607 41.18 134 23 102[18] +26
Italian People's Party (PPI) 27 −4
Federation of the Greens (FdV) 14 +7
Italian Renewal (RI) 11[19] New
The Network (LR) 1 −5
Venetian Autonomy League (LAV) 1 +1
Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az) 1 +1
Total seats 157
Pole for Freedoms Forza Italia (FI) 12,185,020 37.35 67 49 48[20] +13
National Alliance (AN) 43 −4
Christian Democratic Centre (CCD) 15 +3
United Christian Democrats (CDU) 10 New
Total seats 116
Northern League (LN) 3,394,733 10.41 18 9 27 −33
Progressives 934,974 2.87 10 0 10 −8
Tricolour Flame (FT) 747,487 2.29 0 1 1 New
Pannella-Sgarbi List (LPS) 509,826 1.56 0 1 1 ±0
The Fir–SVPPATT 178,425 0.55 2 0 2 −1
Aosta Valley (VdA) 27,493 0.08 1 0 1 ±0
Total 315

Detailed results

Party or coalition Votes % Seats
FPTP Proportional
The Olive Tree (Ulivo) 13,013,276 39.89 152 23
Pole for Freedoms (PdL) 12,185,020 37.35 116 49
Northern League (LN) 3,394,733 10.41 27 9
Progressives 934,974 2.87 10 0
Tricolour Flame (FT) 747,487 2.29 0 1
Pannella-Sgarbi List (LPS) 509,826 1.56 0 1
Socialist Party (PS) 286,426 0.88 0 0
The Fir–SVPPATT 178,425 0.55 2 0
Clean Hands (MP) 109,113 0.33 0 0
League for Autonomy – Lombard Alliance (LAL) 106,313 0.33 0 0
North-East Union (UNE) 72,541 0.22 0 0
We Sicilians – Sicilian National Front (NS–FNS) 71,841 0.22 0 0
Southern Action League (LAM) 66,750 0.20 0 0
Greens Greens (VV) 61,434 0.19 0 0
Pensioners' Party (PP) 60,640 0.19 0 0
Social Democracy 60,016 0.18 0 0
Federation of Italian Civic Lists 55,793 0.17 0 0
Sardigna Natzione (SN) 44,713 0.14 0 0
Aosta Valley (VdA) 27,493 0.08 1 0
Piedmont Nation of Europe 26,951 0.08 0 0
Environmentalists 26,756 0.08 0 0
Independent Group Freedom (GIL) 23,301 0.07 0 0
Union for South Tyrol (UfS) 19,330 0.06 0 0
Tuscan Autonomist Movement (MAT) 18,691 0.06 0 0
Pact for the Agro 17,980 0.06 0 0
Renovation 16,216 0.05 0 0
Aosta Valley for the Olive Tree 10,371 0.03 0 0
Right of the People 6,710 0.02 0 0
Natural Law Party (PLN) 10,371 0.03 0 0
Democrats for Progress 5,688 0.02 0 0
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) 5,681 0.02 0 0
Popular Movement of Moralization (MPM) 5,297 0.02 0 0
Azure Alps 5,144 0.02 0 0
Democratic Alternative for the Roman Castles 4,524 0.01 0 0
Progressive People's Party (PPP) 4,450 0.01 0 0
For a Normal Country 3,976 0.01 0 0
European Dolomite Region 2,898 0.01 0 0
Free North Autonomy 2,411 0.01 0 0
Hit the Center 2,178 0.01 0 0
Total 32,624,584 100.00 232 83
Popular vote
Ulivo
39.89%
PpL
37.35%
LN
10.41%
Prog.
2.87%
FT
2.29%
LPS
1.56%
Others
5.63%

FPTP by constituency

Constituency Total
seats
Seats won
Ulivo PpL LN PRC Others
Piedmont 17 10 5 1 1
Aosta Valley 1 1
Lombardy 35 15 11 8 1
Trentino-Alto Adige 6 2 2 2
Veneto 17 8 1 8
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 5 1 3 1
Liguria 6 3 2 1
Emilia-Romagna 15 13 2
Tuscany 14 12 2
Umbria 5 4 1
Marche 6 6
Lazio 21 13 8
Abruzzo 5 4 1
Molise 2 2
Campania 22 13 7 2
Apulia 16 7 9
Basilicata 5 5
Calabria 8 4 4
Sicily 20 7 13
Sardinia 6 5 1
Total 232 134 67 18 10 3

PR results by constituency

Constituency Total
seats
Seats won
PpL Ulivo LN Others
Piedmont 6 3 1 2
Lombardy 12 5 4 3
Trentino-Alto Adige 1 1
Veneto 6 3 2 1
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2 1 1
Liguria 3 1 1 1
Emilia-Romagna 6 5 1
Tuscany 5 5
Umbria 2 2
Marche 2 2
Lazio 7 4 3
Abruzzo 2 2
Campania 8 5 3
Apulia 6 3 3
Basilicata 2 2
Calabria 3 2 1
Sicily 7 1 4 2
Sardinia 3 3
Total 83 49 23 9 2

Maps

Results for the Chamber of Deputies (left) and Senate of the Republic (right) in single-member constituencies. The color corresponds to the party or coalition that won the constituency. Red represents The Olive Tree, blue the Pole for Freedoms, green the Northern League, dark red the Communist Refoundation Party, black the South-Tyrolean People's Party, indigo the Southern Action League, and turquoise the Aosta Valley coalition.
Results for the Chamber of Deputies (left) and Senate of the Republic (right) in single-member constituencies. The color corresponds to the party or coalition that won the constituency. Red represents The Olive Tree, blue the Pole for Freedoms, green the Northern League, dark red the Communist Refoundation Party, black the South-Tyrolean People's Party, indigo the Southern Action League, and turquoise the Aosta Valley coalition.
Composition of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate by coalition

Leaders' races

1996 Italian general election (C): Bologna – Mazzini
Candidate Coalition Party Votes %
Romano Prodi The Olive Tree Ind 55,830 60.82
Filippo Berselli Pole for Freedoms AN 35,972 39.18
Total 91,802 100.0
Turnout 95,948 92.26
Centre-left hold
Source: Ministry of the Interior
1996 Italian general election (C): Milan Centre
Candidate Coalition Party Votes %
Silvio Berlusconi Pole for Freedoms FI 46,098 51.50
Michele Salvati The Olive Tree PDS 32,464 36.27
Umberto Bossi * LN 10,179 11.37
Camillo Comelli PU 766 0.86
Total 89,507 100.0
Turnout 92,969 82.64
Centre-right gain from LN
* incumbent defeated
Source: Ministry of the Interior

Notes

  1. ^ Bossi ran also in the single-member constituency of Milan but he lost to Berlusconi.

References

  1. ^ "ANNO 1996 MESE DI FEBBRAIO". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
  2. ^ ANNO 1996 MESE DI MARZO
  3. ^ Prodi dall'Annunziata
  4. ^ La vittoria di Prodi nel 1996
  5. ^ I manifesti elettorali di Silvio Berlusconi dal 1994 ad oggi
  6. ^ Prodi–Berlusconi, vigilia di duello. Leader in ritiro, si limano le regole
  7. ^ Pontida 1996, il discorso di Umberto Bossi sulla nascita della Padania
  8. ^ 1996, quando la Lega era pro-euro
  9. ^ Fausto Bertinotti e Giuliano Ferrara da Bruno Vespa
  10. ^ Silvio Berlusconi e Fausto Bertinotti da Lucia Annunziata
  11. ^ Pannella a Porta a Porta nel 1996
  12. ^ Pannella, una vita da radicale
  13. ^ 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)
  14. ^ Including 5 deputies of the Democratic Union (UD) and 2 deputies of the Italian Republican Party (PRI)
  15. ^ Including 8 deputies of Segni Pact (Patto), 7 deputies of the Italian Socialists (SI) and one deputy of the Democratic Italian Movement (MID)
  16. ^ Including 3 deputies of the Union of the Centre (UdC)
  17. ^ 19 deputies of CCD and 11 deputies of CDU
  18. ^ Including 5 senators of the Labour Federation (FL) and 4 senators of the Social Christians (CS)
  19. ^ Including 5 senators of the Italian Socialists (SI), one senator of Segni Pact (PS) and one senator of the Democratic Italian Movement (MID)
  20. ^ Including 2 senators of the Union of the Centre (UdC)