Italian general election, 2006

On April 9th and 10th 2006 parliamentary elections were held in Italy. It 630 deputies and 315 senators were elected. The competing party alliances were the Casa delle Libertà with Silvio Berlusconi at the top and L' Unione with Romano Prodi.

It was the second time that Italians living abroad were able to participate in an election or a referendum. There are, however, in Italy No absentee ballot; the choice is exercised abroad in the diplomatic missions and is further only some groups of citizens, in particular: soldiers and other public workers on mission abroad; Erasmus students, or even leisure travelers still only have the option to travel to the choice to her hometown in Italy.

The turnout was very high at 83.6 percent.

The Unione won majorities in both houses of Parliament, each with a narrow margin under the leadership of Romano Prodi stated in the official result.

  • 5.1 Chamber of Deputies
  • 5.2 Senate


The election campaign was marked by little content and tax promises have been made again and again. While Silvio Berlusconi promised more tax cuts, Prodi announced sharper tackle tax evasion. Berlusconi, however, had expressed understanding for tax evaders in the past and had come to meet with these amnesties. At the conclusion of his second television Duelles with Prodi, which was followed by half of the Italian population, Berlusconi announced the abolition of the municipal property tax on primary residences. Prodi could not reply then, that this election promise would have to be done by the already loss-making communities. Many mayors protested then against Berlusconi's coup.

Berlusconi's comeback through personalization and scandal

The rigid personalization of the campaign by Berlusconi gave him almost the election after the leading polling organizations had weeks of Unione coalition Prodi predicts a safe margin of five to eight percent. The projection of the center-left coalition of Romano Prodi, according to the polls before the elections was because of the daily media coverage of the " media mogul " Berlusconi all the more remarkable. However, it succeeded Berlusconi, as has been frequently targeted by diverting scandal of his political opponents of his economic policy failures and of the criminal proceedings against him.

Mid-March, Berlusconi lost even publicly to the wording. Before the cameras he rushed abruptly from an afternoon talk show ("In mezz'ora " the state television RAI 3), after he had said goodbye to short prematurely. Berlusconi from the beginning was dissatisfied with the communication skills by the moderator Lucia Annunziata, which provided him with predominantly uncomfortable questions and immediately fell into the word when he deviated from the topic. Berlusconi asked her to ask him but also to his program for the next parliamentary term, because that would interest the voters more. After about 25 minutes escalated the latent tension between the two, after Berlusconi had said he would get up and go, if the presenter could not continue to let him finish. As a result, it was this, Berlusconi had to go back on that statement. Berlusconi ignored this request with the remark that he could say what he wanted because he was Libertarian and on the other hand they represent the typical left that it was accustomed always to decide for others, and continued with his remarks. After the presenter but after about one minute departed not from their demand, made ​​her interlocutor his threat. He stood up, thanked him for the interview and accused the presenter to be a "left" and they should be ashamed. This only answered, he did not know how to deal with journalists. When leaving the studio was still to be heard, as he shouted, " The RAI is thus controlled by me?" This episode was evaluated by the neutral media differently and Annunziata was informed by the director of RAI Fabrizio del Noce, their stubbornness would not have been necessary. Lucia Annunziata was reprimanded by the media regulatory body that oversees compliance with the rules of fairness, due to injury just these rules. It is forbidden journalists, offensive to represent their own political opinion, as this Annunziata have done during the Berlusconi interviews.

His everyday media dominance over the years tried Berlusconi in a political speech to his followers as to invalidate by a meticulous list of all the campaigning of his political opponents on Italian TV (government and private ) held out. So Piero Fassino was 25 times, Francesco Rutelli 18 times, Massimo D'Alema 7 times, Romano Prodi 9 times and 19 times Bertinotti appeared on television, where only three appearances by him, the Prime Minister Berlusconi opposing each other.

A spectacular example of Berlusconi's election campaign tactics was his insult of all Unione voters two days before the election as coglioni (literally testicles transferred idiot ), because they would vote against their interests if they chose left and that he had too much respect for the Italians to believe that they did it anyway. His exact words were: " Ho troppa stima dell'intelligenza degli italiani per pensare che ci siano in giro che così tanti coglioni Possano votare facendo il proprio disinteresse. " Translation: I have too much respect for the intelligence of Italians to believe that there are so many morons who vote against their own interests.

The term coglioni ( idiot ) was used, however, even before the utterance Berlusconi also from the more populist secretary of the party " Democrats of the Sinistra " ( Left Democrats ) Piero Fassino in a political speech debate on 29 March 2006, to move the undecided voters to the to move center-left alliance and no to be italiani coglioni.

It is worth mentioning Prodi's devaluation as mortadella, a fatty sausage from Bologna, the hometown Prodi. Also, the fact that several directors in Europe his government satirical filmed (including in the films Il Caimano ( " The Cayman " ) by Nanni Moretti and Bye Bye Berlusconi! Jan Henrik Stahlberg ), Berlusconi used strategically for his election campaign by focusing from now jokingly referred to as " Cayman " and coglione himself described at performances and thus pulled the cocoa itself.

The violent verbal attacks of the former prime minister Berlusconi hit a low point with his accusation, (Chinese ) Communists would cook babies and processed into fertilizer: As a representative of the Left ( Bertinotti of the " Refoundation " ) to Berlusconi enlightening said that all his intimidation tactics towards the population with respect to the Communists that they would plunge the country into ruin, was excessive and that the Communists probably ate no children, Berlusconi replied: "In China, Mao Tse Tung at the time they have not eaten. But they have them boiled to fertilize fields. It is a terrible thing - which, unfortunately, is true, however, be read in the black book of communism " This statement drew controversy after extensive assets, including a note of protest to the Chinese government! .

Such controversies were in the course of the campaign over and over again, the repressed an objective discussion of the electoral program in the background. The election campaign for the Italian parliamentary elections in 2006 was described by the newspaper La Repubblica as the niveauloseste since the end of World War II.

Prodi resistance

Prodi could not completely maintain its reputation as a clean man, such as he described a listener in a state radio broadcast as " matto " ( crazy), because the latter had asked him the following question: "I want your position relative to the start of work on the TAV in hear the first 100 days of their hypothetical tenure. This could perhaps be a helpful information for undecided voters be those who believe that your government will cease to exist after the first budget law. "

The TAV is a planned high-speed railway line between Turin and Lyon, which is very controversial in the center-left alliance of Prodi. Prodi said: "It's crazy in the sense - although I appreciate honesty - but why he believes that after the first budget law there would be no government Prodi ... more. ? " His exact words were: " Boh. [ mugugno ] Ma questo è questo poi ... matto! Voglio dire ... [ mugugno ] Noi abbiamo ... [ risatina ] Nel senso che ... [ mugugno lungo ] Apprezzo molto l' incitamento e la ... [ risatina e mugugno ] e la franchezza. Ma che cosa che gli fa dire dopo la finanziaria non ci sarà più un governo Prodi? » A few minutes later, after a commercial break to Prodi apologized for having used this expression.

In the first TV debate in the first state television RAI 1 Prodi described his political opponents as " venditori di tappeti " (carpet dealer), because they would no longer find employment after the election.

In another speech Prodi accused the center-right alliance " delinquenza politica " in front of (political crimes ).

The only loss in second TV debate ( also on RAI 1 ) to Prodi made ​​the claim that Berlusconi at numbers hold fast like a drunk to a lamppost, thus provoking a moment of excitement. Berlusconi responded then snubbed and demanded: "Respect the Prime Minister " " The drunks you can keep to yourself ," said an angry Berlusconi! .. " When someone talks like a drunken man, then " What Moderator Bruno Vespa tried to calm the head of government - Berlusconi but the moderator asked in a commanding: "You are the moderator! So ensure that Mr Prodi is moderate! "

Media farce

Another bizarre climax reached the campaign four days before the election, when a well-known Italian television magazine called " TERRA ", which will be broadcast on " Canale 5" of Berlusconi's Mediaset, Silvio Berlusconi and Romano Prodi to a so-called "free TV debate " invited. Unlike the two televised debates on national television this mailing should take place without strict rules and a limited speaking time. Prodi gave up this gig. Canale 5 was still moving neither other party chairman of the center-left alliance Editors important leftist newspapers to participate. The latter were urged by the national press agency, not to participate in the mission.

In protest to the announced participation Berlusconi said two opposition leaders, Piero Fassino and Francesco Rutelli participation in another broadcast on Canale 5, called "MATRIX ", which should be recorded on the afternoon of the same day off because Berlusconi's appearance supposedly a violation of the so-called par condicio constitute a relatively young Italian law, which is intended to protect the equal rights of the parties in the mass media.

When, after hours of waiting, the opposition politicians arrived, said the representatives of the other party, Gianfranco Fini and Pier Ferdinando Casini (both center-right alliance ) from their participation. Berlusconi finally renounced participation in " TERRA ", whereupon Fassino and Rutelli yet again decided to participate in " MATRIX", since the actual kick-off their protest no longer existed, and the representatives of the ruling coalition as " arrogant" designated because these no longer are willing to a confrontation. The show was then performed as a kind of phantom broadcast with four empty chairs without studio guests on the following evening. Instead, a summary of the events of the day was featured in a movie that had led to this situation.

Alliances and parties

  • Casa delle Libertà (center - right), from: Forza Italia
  • National Alliance
  • Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e di Centro Democratici
  • Lega Nord
  • Nuovo Partito Socialista Italiano
  • Nuova Christian Democrats
  • Partito Repubblicano Italiano

Supported by: Alternativa Sociale ( Azione Sociale - Forza Nuova - Fronte Sociale Nazionale ) - Movimento per l' Autonomia - Movimento Sociale Fiamma Tricolore - No Euro - Partito Liberal Italiano - Riformatori liberalization - Verdi Verdi - Regional: Nuova Sicilia - Patto per la Sicilia

  • L' Unione (center - left), from: Federazione dell'Ulivo from: Democrats of the Sinistra
  • La Margherita
  • Movimento Repubblicani Europei
  • Socialisti Democratici Italiani
  • Radicali Italiani

Supported by: Consumatori Uniti - Democratici Cristiani Uniti - Federazione dei Liberaldemocratici - Federazione dei liberalization Italiani - I Socialisti - Lista Consumatori - Partito della Christian Democrats - Partito Pensionati - Partito Socialista Democratico Italiano - Radicali di sinistra - Repubblicani Democratici - Regional: National Alliance Lombarda - Liga Fronte Veneto - Progetto Sardegna - South Tyrolean people's Party

Exit polls

Exit polls on state television RAI immediately after polling showed that it was opposition leader Romano Prodi Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The center-left camp L' Unione came in both chambers at 50 to 54 percent of the vote and came in the Senate on 159-170 seats. In contrast, the center-right alliance Berlusconi's Casa delle Libertà had reached only 45-49 percent and therefore would receive only 139-150 seats. These forecasts should prove to be false in the next few hours.


After the polls had closed on Monday, April 10th by 15 clock, the first projections were published about 18 clock. Contrary to the exit polls, the output suddenly seemed much closer than first thought. After all, but was still a gap of about 1% available. Later in the evening, new projections were always refilled, the projection of the center-left coalition shrank while continuously. Around midnight there was an absolute tie, the distribution of seats changed constantly due to the complicated selection mode, once had one side of the majority, even the other. Around 3 clock in the morning the leaders of the center-left alliance stood before the still waiting audience in a public square in Rome and claimed victory. At this time though all votes were counted for the Chamber of Deputies, but it was still unclear who would be in the Senate have the majority. It was not until several hours later, it was clear that due to the allocation of six Senate seats that were reserved for Italians abroad, the center-left coalition would have a majority in the Senate.

Final result

The end result of the parliamentary elections finally been remarkably scarce and therefore still cared weeks after the election for discussions. By votes the center- left coalition for the Chamber could reach 0.07 % ( 24,755 votes) more, after sitting but results in a comfortable majority, because the electoral law provides for a majority bonus. However, the center-right alliance reached total almost 1% more votes for the Senate; Given the option, the Senate result translated but in a majority of 2 seats for the center- left coalition.

Chamber of Deputies

Preliminary final domestic:

Casa delle Libertà votes seats | L' Unione votes seats ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Forza Italia 9,045,384 23.709 % 137 | The Olive 11,928,362 31.265 % 220 National Alliance 4,706,654 12.336 % 71 | Refoundation 2,229,604 5,844 41 % UDC 2,579,951 6,762 39 % | La Rosa nel Pugno 991 049 2,579 18 % Lega Nord -MPA 1,748,066 4.581 % 26 | Comunisti Italiani 884 912 2,319 16 % DC Nuovo PSI 285 744 0.748 % 4 | Italia dei Valori 877 159 2,229 16 % Other 610 661 1,603 0 % | Federazione dei Verdi 783 944 2,054 15 % | Popolari UDEUR 534 553 1,401 10 % | South Tyrolean People's Party 182 703 0.478 % 4 | Other 589 398 1,636 0 % --------------------------- | ---------------------- ----- A total of 18,976,460 49.739 % 277 | Total 19,001,684 49.805 % 340 The seat of the Aosta Valley region received the parties' Liberté Democracy, which has allied itself with the Unione.

Preliminary Final abroad ( coalition alliance in parentheses):

L' Unione 6 seats Forza Italia (Casa delle Libertà ) 3 seats Associations Italiane in Sud America ( independent) 1 seat Per l' Italia nel Mondo (Casa delle Libertà ) 1 seat Italia dei Valori (L' Unione ) 1 seat senate

Preliminary result:

Electoral lists of the Casa delle Libertà seats | Election lists of Unione seats -------------------------------------------------- ------------------------- Forza Italia 79 | Democrats of the Sinistra 62 National Alliance Nationale 41 | La Margherita 39 UDC 21 | Refoundation 27 Lega Nord -MPA 13 | Insieme con L' Unione 11 Casa delle Libertà 2 | L' Unione 4 | Italia dei Valori 4 | L' Unione SVP 3 | Popolari UDEUR 3 | SVP 2 | Autonomy Liberté Democracy 1 | The Olive 1 | Lista Consumatori 1 | A total of 156 | Total 158 Associations Italiane in Sud America ( independent) 1 seat Foreign reactions

While European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, regardless of the count quarrels his predecessor Prodi already on April 11 officially congratulated the German Prime Minister Angela Merkel sent her congratulations on 13 April 2006 to Prodi's election victory. U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin congratulated Prodi .. only on 21 or on April 22, 2006

Confusion and controversy about the choice count

The extremely small distance of 24,464 votes prompted Berlusconi to call for "Casa della Libertà ", the day after election for a recount of the vote and to contest the result if necessary.

After Berlusconi was due to " numerous irregularities" (at times he had spoken of " voter fraud ," but this withdrawn ) requested a judicial review of the election results, the repeated counting of about 80,000 disputed ballots allegedly began on Wednesday. These were for votes, which could not be clearly assigned to the first count, but were not invalidated.

According to a statement from the Italian Ministry of the Interior on Friday after the election, however, only about 2,131 ballots were in dispute. Thus, the electoral victory of Romano Prodi 's for sure.

On April 19, was the result of inspections by the Court of Cassation. Thus, the final result in the chamber is 19,002,598 votes for and 18,977,843 for center-left center-right, resulting in a difference of 24,755 votes. The difference has thus reduced by about 500 votes.

The first reactions from the center-right block to this message were split. While some Prodi congratulated the victory, others would still not recognize the result.

Furthermore, a total of over 1.1 million votes across the country have been canceled.

Other press releases on the topic:

Further development

After it was initially unclear whether Prodi would already commissioned in the following days by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi to form a government, it came first on 10 May 2006 for election as the new president Giorgio Napolitano of Italy. The 85- year-old already had the Ciampi expressed by all political forces Please after a renewed bid rejected.

The formation of a new government took place within a short time after the appointment of Napolitano as President on 15 May 2006. In the took place in the parliamentary elections after local elections in Italy, the coalition of Romano Prodi was confirmed. It won in most cities, including Rome, Naples and Turin. Only in Milan and in the Sicily region, representatives of the opposition camp by Berlusconi could claim scarce.