European Parliament election, 1979 (Italy)

European Parliament election in Italy, 1979
10 June 1979

All 81 Italian seats in the European Parliament
  Majority party Minority party Third party
Leader Benigno Zaccagnini Enrico Berlinguer Bettino Craxi
Party Christian Democracy Communist Party Socialist Party
Alliance EPP COM SOC
Leader's seat Northeast Italy Central Italy Northwest Italy
Seats won 29 24 9
Popular vote 12,774,320 10,361,344 3,866,946
Percentage 36.5% 29.6% 11.0%

The first elections for the European Parliament in Italy were held on 10 June 1979.

A week before Italy had voted for its general election: the lack of matching between the two elections caused much controversy for wasting public money.

Electoral system

The pure party-list proportional representation was the traditional electoral system of the Italian Republic since its foundation in 1946, so it was naturally adopted to elect the Italian representatives to the European Parliament. Two levels were used: a national level to divide seats between parties, and a constituency level to distribute them between candidates. Italian regions were united in 5 constituencies, each electing a group of deputies. At national level, seats were divided between party lists using the largest remainder method with Hare quota. All seats gained by each party were automatically distributed to their local open lists and their most voted candidates.


This election taking place just a week after the general election, it obviously gave a similar result. However, the minor importance of the European ballot caused a lower turnout, which particularly punished the two major parties, the Christian Democracy and the Italian Communist Party. The small Italian Liberal Party had a breath of fresh air from this vote, doubling its percentage compared to seven days before.

National party European group Main candidate Votes % +/– Seats +/–
Christian Democracy EPP Emilio Colombo 12,774,320 36.45 29
Italian Communist Party COM Enrico Berlinguer 10,361,344 29.57 24
Italian Socialist Party SOC Bettino Craxi 3,866,946 11.03 9
Italian Social Movement NI Giorgio Almirante 1,909,055 5.45 4
Italian Democratic Socialist Party SOC Antonio Cariglia 1,514,272 4.32 4
Radical Party TGI Marco Pannella 1,285,065 3.67 3
Italian Liberal Party LD Sergio Pininfarina 1,271,159 3.63 3
Italian Republican Party LD Susanna Agnelli 896,139 2.56 2
Proletarian Unity Party TGI Luciana Castellina 406,656 1.16 1
Proletarian Democracy TGI Mario Capanna 252,342 0.72 1
South Tyrolean People's Party EPP Joachim Dalsass 196,373 0.56 1
Federalism (Valdostan Union–Others) None 166,393 0.47 0
National Democracy None 142,537 0.41 0
Valid votes 35,042,601 96.94
Blank and invalid votes 1,105,579 3.06
Totals 36,148,180 100.00 81
Electorate (eligible voters) and voter turnout 42,203,405 85.65
Source: Italian Ministry of the Interior
Popular vote
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