Italy held three referendums and runoff elections for a number of provinces and municipalities on Sunday and Monday June 21 and 22, 2009.
The three-fold referendum seeked to change the majority bonus in Italian general elections from a coalition bonus to a bonus for the largest party. This part was Question 1 (Chamber) and 2 (Senate). Question 3 would prevent candidates from standing in multiple constituencies. Questions 1 and 2 would gradually transform Italy into a two-party (PD and PdL) system and weaken these parties’ respective coalition allies (IdV and Lega Nord). The PD supports this, Berlusconi privately supports it but didn’t campaign in favour since he didn’t want to piss off his Lega Nord (very picky) allies. The referendum required 50% turnout to pass.
Turnout was only 23%, so the referendums were invalid.
There were 22 provincial runoffs, out of 62 provinces voting (the first round being held the same day as the Euros). Provinces have relatively few powers, much less powers than the regions do atleast. Most of these provinces (two, I think, were new) voted in 2004 – which was a peak in anti-Berlusconi sentiment – the left won 50 and the right won 9 (including 1 Lega Nord won independently of the Italian right). 2009 could only be a realignment and return to electoral normalcy.
In notable provincial results, the left held Torino by an impressive margin and narrowly lost Milan, Venice, and Lecce. The right’s narrow victory in Milan and Venice – two traditionally right-wing provinces – is good news for the left.
The left won very pleasing results in the local elections, they won 16 of the provincial capitals voting, the right won 14. In other cities, the left won 107, the right won 70. 12 cities were won by Independent lists (Lista Civica), 3 by the Lega Nord (independently of the right), and 3 by the centre (UDC). In the first round, the right had forced the left into runoffs in Florence and Bologna, in which the left ate the right’s candidates alive. The left also won Bari and Padova, other pleasing results for them.
There was an undeniable shift to the left in these runoffs, and this saves the PD from extinction, and some predicted that very poor elections would spell the end of the PD experiment.