Constitutional Court and Constitutional Dialogues

With decision no. 1/2014, delivered on January 13, 2014, the Italian Constitutional Court struck down two very contested aspects of the electoral law for both Houses of Parliament (no. 270/2005), namely the majority prize (premio di maggioranza) and the closed-list of party candidates running for election (liste bloccate).
The first mechanism gives extra seats to the party (or to the coalition of parties) that receives most votes (at national level, in the Lower House; and at the regional level, in each of the 20 Regions, in the Upper House). The second prevents voters from choosing their own parliamentary representatives, giving them only the option of choosing a party list, in which candidates are ranked in order of electoral priority by party leaders[1].

The Court ruled that the majority prize is unconstitutional because it violates the principles of popular sovereignty (art. 1 Const.), equality before the law (art. 3 Const.) and equality of the vote (art. 48 Const.)[2]. The Court also found that closed-list system violates the principle of the freedom of the vote (same art. 48 Const.).

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