Italy: The Latest Casualty of Proportional Representation

Bernard Owen, Maria Rodriguez-McKey

This article is an answer to proffessor Anthony PANTELIS, Faculty of Law, National University of Athens.

When we analyze elections we have to keep in mind that citizens adapt their vote to the electoral system. The rosato law has to be done away with.  Citizens are not fools and when they vote they not only give their opinion on the candidates and the political party but they also are aware of the law: is it simple and logical?

The first electoral laws  that were put in place by Italy after the reunification of the country were two-tound majoritarian.  It was only after the First World War that proportional representation was introduced. If one looks only at the European examples of the consequences of proportional repesentation, meaning no clear majorities, cronic instability as coalition builing takes a long time and rarely lasts the full term, it is clar that prortional systems do not resist crisies.  The German Republic of Weimar is the most tragic example of the dangers of proportional representation.

The actual Rosato law is not workable.  Too complicated and it is as if the author had forgotten that citizens are not numbers.

As opposed to this unworkable system, you have majority, plurality one-member constituencies, one-round or first-past-th-post.  One has to just look at real countires with real voters instead of numbers.  The United States has held elections since 1789 and the Republican Party will survive President Trump as it has done in the past.  Since 1789 the two-party system has seen other bad presidents, and it is still there.

The German mixed system is not to be copied because whether it is the far-left Die Linke not so long ago or the far right (Alternative for Germany) now, the Bundestag has been destabilieed, and the government is a coalition left – righ, both of which are normally in opposition to each other, in particular for the voter.  Never forget the voter.

Italy is an important member-country of the European Union and the Euro zone.  The conseuences of tthe Rosato law is that two anti Euoropean parties have been elected and have formed a coaltion which can have idisastrous consequences on a the political and economic outlook of not only Italy.  And holding a new election using th same law will not change anything.