The most recent parliamentary election in Italy took place on March 4, 2018. On that election Sunday Italians went to the polls to choose 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati) and 315 Senators (Camera del Senato). This time the parliamentary election took place alongside the regional election in Lombardy and Lazio. In Italy, parliamentary elections are held every five years; however, this one in 2018 was anticipated due to the dissolution of the Parliament by the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella on December 28, 2017. This happened shortly before the end of the 17th legislature scheduled for March 14, 2018. Italian citizens over the age of 18 were eligible to vote and roughly 73 percent of them attended, voting for both Chambers, with the highest abstention rate registered in the youngest age group.
As predicted by opinion polls, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle) and the centre-right block dominated ballots. Five Star achieved the largest number of seats both in the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, whereas the third largest party, the right-wing League (Lega) of Matteo Salvini, an anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic, scored 17.4 percent in the ballots. The Democratic Party (Partito Democratico) led by Matteo Renzi, holding the most seats in the Italian Parliament during the previous legislature, came second, reaching roughly 19 percent of votes. The result is seen as an earthquake in Italian politics, as populist parties, following the current trend in Europe, have received more than 50 percent of votes.
Nonetheless, no party nor political group won the 40 percent necessary to form the parliamentary majority, which led the leaders of the two parties to negotiate a coalition and develop a joint political programme. The lengthy negotiations and increasing pressure forced the two candidates, Matteo Salvini and Luigi di Maio, to suggest a third person for the position of Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, a lawyer and professor of private law at Florence University with no political experience. On May 23, 2018, Conte was given a mandate by president Mattarella to form a government. However, after the president rejected the candidacy of Paolo Savona, an euroskeptic economist, for the position of finance minister, Conte resigned on May 24. Consequently, a day after, the President chose Carlo Cottarelli to create a technical government and lead Italy into new elections to be held in summer, but eventually, the leading political parties managed to reach agreement on a new candidate for finance minister and on June 1, the new Italian government, with Conte as prime minister, started the legislature.
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