Italian general election, 1994

Italian general election, 1994
27 March 1994

All 630 seats in the Italian Chamber of Deputies
315 seats in the Italian Senate
Turnout 86.3%
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Silvio Berlusconi Achille Occhetto Mariotto Segni
Party Forza Italia Democratic Party of the Left Segni Pact
Alliance Pole of Freedoms & Pole of Good Government Alliance of Progressives Pact for Italy
Leader's seat Rome Centre Bologna West Sassari (lost)
Seats won 366 (H)
155 (S)
213 (H)
122 (S)
46 (H)
31 (S)
Popular vote 16,585,516 13,308,244 6,098,986
Percentage 42.8% 34.3% 15.8%

Legislative election results map. Azure denotes provinces with a Forza Italia plurality, Red denotes those with a Democratic Socialist plurality, Blue denotes those with a National Alliance plurality, Light Blue denotes those with a Populars plurality, Green denotes those with a Lega Nord plurality, Gold denotes those with a Segni Pact plurality, Gray denotes those with a Regionalist plurality.

Prime Minister before election

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi

Elected Prime Minister

Silvio Berlusconi
Forza Italia

A snap national general election was held in Italy on March 27, 1994 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right alliance won a large majority in the Chamber, but just missed winning a majority in the Senate. The Italian People's Party, the renamed Christian Democrats, which had dominated Italian politics for almost half a century, was decimated. It took only 29 seats versus 206 for the DC two years earlier-easily the worst defeat a sitting government in Italy has ever suffered, and one of the worst ever suffered by a Western European governing party.

New electoral system

A new electoral system was introduced in these elections, after the abolition of the proportional representation established after the end of World War II, by a referendum in 1993.

The new intricate electoral system of Italy, nicknamed the Mattarellum (after Sergio Mattarella, who was the official proponent), provided 75% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies (the Lower House) as elected by plurality voting system, whereas the remaining 25% was assigned by proportional representation, with a minimum threshold of 4%. The method associated with the Senate was even more complicated: 75% of the seats by uninominal method, and 25% by a special proportional method that in practice assigned the remaining seats to minority parties.

Historical background

See also: Mani Pulite

In 1992, the five pro-western governing parties, Christian Democracy, the Italian Socialist Party, the Italian Social-Democratic Party, the Italian Republican Party and the Italian Liberal Party, lost much of their electoral strength almost overnight due to a large number of judicial investigations concerning the financial corruption of many of their foremost members. This led to a general expectation that upcoming elections would be won by the Democratic Party of the Left, the heirs to the former Italian Communist Party, and their Alliance of Progressives coalition unless there was an alternative.

Berlusconi during a Forza Italia rally.

On 26 January 1994, the media magnate Silvio Berlusconi announced his decision to enter politics, ("enter the field", in his own words) presenting his own political party, Forza Italia, on a platform focused on defeating the Communists. His political aim was to convince the voters of the Pentapartito, (i.e. the usual five governing parties) who were shocked and confused by Mani Pulite scandals, that Forza Italia offered both novelty and the continuation of the pro-western free market policies followed by Italy since the end of the 2nd World War. Shortly after he decided to enter the political arena, investigators into the Mani Pulite affair were said to be close to issuing warrants for the arrest of Berlusconi and senior executives of his business group. During his years of political career Berlusconi has repeatedly stated that the Mani Pulite investigations were led by communist prosecutors who wanted to establish a soviet-style government in Italy.[1][2]

In order to win the election Berlusconi formed two separate electoral alliances: Pole of Freedoms (Polo delle Libertà) with the Northern League (Lega Nord) in northern Italian districts, and another, the Pole of Good Government (Polo del Buon Governo), with the post-fascist National Alliance (Alleanza Nazionale; heir to the Italian Social Movement) in central and southern regions.[3] In a shrewd pragmatic move, he did not ally with the latter in the North because the League disliked them. As a result, Forza Italia was allied with two parties that were not allied with each other.

Berlusconi launched a massive campaign of electoral advertisements on his three TV networks. He subsequently won the elections, with Forza Italia garnering 21% of the popular vote, the highest percentage of any single party.[4] One of the most significant promises that he made in order to secure victory was that his government would create "one million more jobs".

On the other side, the center-left Alliance of Progressive led by Achille Occhetto, also called the Joyful War Machine, was composed by the two party born from the dissolution of the Italian Communist Party: the Democratic Party of the Left and Communist Refoundation Party. Since the alliance was sure of victory, based his campaign accusing the communicative power of Silvio Berlusconi.

Parties and leaders

Party Ideology Leader
Forza Italia (FI) Liberal conservatism Silvio Berlusconi
Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) Democratic socialism Achille Occhetto
National Alliance (AN) National conservatism Gianfranco Fini
Italian People's Party (PPI) Christian democracy Mino Martinazzoli
Lega Nord (LN) Regionalism Umberto Bossi
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) Communism Fausto Bertinotti
Segni Pact Centrism Mariotto Segni
Pannella List (LP) Radicalism Marco Pannella
Federation of the Greens (FdV) Green politics Franco Corleone
Italian Socialist Party (PSI) Social democracy Ottaviano Del Turco
The Network (LR) Anti-corruption Leoluca Orlando

Coalitions and electoral list

Political force or alliance Constituent lists Leader
Pole of FreedomsPole of Good Government
(Polo delle Libertà – Polo del Buon Governo)
Forward Italy (Forza Italia)
Silvio Berlusconi
National Alliance (Alleanza Nazionale)
Northern League (Lega Nord)
Christian Democratic Centre (Centro Cristiano Democratico)
Union of the Centre (Unione di Centro)
Liberal Democratic Pole (Polo Liberal Democratico)
Alliance of Progressives
(Alleanza dei Progressisti)
Democratic Party of the Left (Partito Democratico della Sinistra)
Achille Occhetto
Communist Refoundation Party (Partito della Rifondazione Comunista)
Federation of the Greens (Federazione dei Verdi)
Italian Socialist Party (Partito Socialista Italiano)
The Network (La Rete)
Democratic Alliance (Alleanza Democratica)
Social Christians (Cristiano Sociali)
Socialist Rebirth (Rinascita Socialista)
Pact for Italy
(Patto per l'Italia)
Italian People's Party (Partito Popolare Italiano)
Mariotto Segni
Segni Pact (Patto Segni)
Italian Republican Party (Partito Repubblicano Italiano)
Pannella List
(Lista Pannella)
Pannella List (Lista Pannella)
Marco Pannella

Main leaders

Coalition Portrait Name Most recent position
Pole of FreedomsPole of Good Government Silvio Berlusconi President of Forza Italia
Alliance of Progressives Achille Occhetto Secretary of the Democratic Party of the Left
Pact for Italy Mariotto Segni Leader of Segni Pact
Pannella List Marco Pannella Leader of Pannella List


On election day, Berlusconi's coalition won a decisive victory over Occhetto's one, becoming the first center-right coalition to win general election since the Second World War. In the popular vote, Berlusconi's coalition outpolled the Alliance of Progressive by over 5.1 million votes. Pole of Freedoms won in the main regions of Italy: in the North the strongest parties were the regionalist Lega Nord and Forza Italia, which was able to win in all province of Sicily, while in the South National Alliance received more votes. Alliance of Progressive reconfirmed itself in the ex-communist regions in the Center and in the South.

Chamber of Deputies


Summary of the 27 March 1994 Chamber of Deputies election results
Party % Votes Seats
Forza Italia 21.01 8,136,135 30
Democratic Party of the Left 20.36 7,881,646 38
National Alliance 13.47 5,214,133 23
Italian People's Party 11.07 4,287,172 29
Lega Nord 8.36 3,235,248 11
Communist Refoundation Party 6.05 2,343,946 11
Segni Pact 4.68 1,811,814 13
Pannella List 3.51 1,359,283 0
Federation of the Greens 2.70 1,047,268 0
Italian Socialist Party 2.19 849,429 0
The Network 1.86 719,841 0
Democratic Alliance 1.18 456,114 0
South Tyrolean People's Party 0.60 231,842 0
Socialdemocracy for Freedoms 0.46 179,495 0
Program Italy 0.39 151,328 0
Lega Alpina Lumbarda 0.35 136,782 0
Lega Autonomia Veneta 0.27 103,764 0
Southern Action League 0.15 59,873 0
Popular Unity 0.09 36,343 0
Greens Greens 0.08 32,832 0
Solidarity Occupation Development 0.08 32,653 0
Natural Law Party 0.06 24,554 0
Sardinia Nation 0.06 24,043 0
Italian Democratic Union 0.05 20,227 0
Christians and Reformers Union 0.04 15,844 0
Pensioners' Party 0.04 15,671 0
The League of Angela Bossi 0.04 15,234 0
League for Piedmont 0.04 15,118 0
Southern Alliance 0.04 14,993 0
ADA 0.03 12,898 0
Popular Alliance 0.03 12,827 0
The Ark 0.03 12,053 0
Salentinian Rebirth 0.03 11,479 0
Initiative of the Popular Democrats 0.03 11,247 0
Christian Democratic Movement 0.03 11,036 0
Solidarity and Progress 0.03 10,310 0
Together for the Development 0.03 10,282 0
Franco Greco List 0.03 10,241 0
Socialist Rebirth 0.03 10,070 0
Democracy and Solidarity 0.02 9,546 0
Mediterranean Union 0.02 9,079 0
Southern Movement 0.02 8,700 0
Sicilian Democracy 0.02 8,584 0
Catholic Democratic Movement 0.02 8,348 0
Irpinian Reformers 0.02 8,338 0
Democratic Party 0.02 7,675 0
Popular Union 0.02 7,673 0
Alliance Municipality 0.02 7,432 0
Utopia 0.02 6,951 0
Republican Movement 0.02 6,616 0
Christian Movement Veritas 0.02 6,404 0
Renewal 0.02 6,000 0
Democratic Renaissance 0.01 5,600 0
Democratic Centre 0.01 4,911 0
European Liberal Democrats 0.01 4,633 0
Together for Change 0.01 4,588 0
Progressive People’s Party 0.01 4,554 0
Mediterraneo 0.01 3,867 0
Liberaldemocrats and Socialists 0.01 3,429 0
Christian People's Movement 0.01 3,390 0
Alliance of Program 0.01 3,388 0
Liberal Christian European Movement 0.01 2,745 0
Alliance for the Castles 0.01 2,737 0
Socialist Autonomy 0.01 2,720 0
Idea City 0.01 2,695 0
Christian Democratic Centre 0.01 2,646 0
Democracy and Renewal 0.01 2,576 0
Total 100.00 38,720,893 155


Parties and coalitions % Votes Seats
Alliance of Progressives 32.81 12.632,680 164
Pole of Freedoms 22.77 8,767,720 164
Pact for Italy 15.63 6,019,038 4
Pole of Good Government 14.89 5,732,890 129
National Alliance 6.67 2,566,848 8
Forza Italia 1.76 679,154 1
Pannella List 1.12 432,667 0
South Tyrolean People's Party 0.49 188,017 3
Socialdemocracy for Freedoms 0.38 147,493 0
Southern Action League 0.13 46,820 1
Aosta Valley coalition 0.11 43,700 1
Others 3.24 1,247,131 0
Total 100.00 38,504,158 475

Overall result

Popular vote (Proportional)
La Rete
Popular vote (First-past-the-post)

Senate of the Republic

Summary of the 27 March 1994 Senate of the Republic election results
Parties and coalitions % Votes Seats
Alliance of Progressives 32.90 10,881,320 122
Pole of Freedoms 19.87 6,570,468 82
Pact for Italy 16.69 5,526,090 31
Pole of Good Government 13.74 4,544,573 64
National Alliance 6.28 2,077,934 8
Pannella List 2.32 767,765 1
Pensioners' Party 0.76 250,637 0
Lega Alpina Lumbarda 0.74 246,046 1
South Tyrolean People's Party 0.66 217,137 3
Forza Italia - Christian Democratic Centre 0.45 149,965 1
Italian Socialist Party 0.31 103,490 0
Federalist Greens 0.30 100,418 0
Sardinian Action Party 0.27 88,225 0
Greens Greens 0.21 66,218 0
Socialdemocracy for Freedoms 0.20 66,589 0
Magris List 0.18 61,400 1
Others 4.12 1,361,274 1
Total 100.00 33,074,549 315

Overall result

Popular vote

Instead of it had done in the Chamber, Pole of Freedoms failed in winning a majority in the Senate. Although, the Berlusconi I Cabinet obtained a vote of confidence also in the Senate, thanks to the defection of four PPI senators (Vittorio Cecchi Gori, Stefano Cusumano, Luigi Grillo and Tomaso Zanoletti), who decided not to participate in the vote.

The vote of the Senators for life was not decisive, as three (Gianni Agnelli, Francesco Cossiga and Giovanni Leone) voted in favour of the government, three were absent (Carlo Bo, Norberto Bobbio and Amintore Fanfani) and five voted against (Giulio Andreotti, Francesco De Martino, Giovanni Spadolini and Paolo Emilio Taviani and Leo Valiani).

The Senate finally gave Berlusconi 159 votes in favour and 153 against.[5]

Close regions

Regions where coalition's margin of victory < 5% for the Chamber

  1. Molise, 1.5%
  2. Campania, 2.1%
  3. Lazio, 2.5%
  4. Liguria, 3.6%

Leaders' races

General Election 1994: Rome Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Pole of Freedoms & Pole of Good Government Silvio Berlusconi 34,534 46.3
Alliance of Progressives Luigi Spaventa 29,914 40.1
Segni Pact Alberto Michelini 9,566 12.8
Independent Mirella Cece 593 0.8
Majority 4,620 6.2
Turnout 77,562 77.2
General Election 1994: Bologna West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Alliance of Progressives Achille Occhetto 52,997 59.8
Pole of Freedoms & Pole of Good Government Pier Ferdinando Casini 17,925 20.2
National Alliance Anselmo Ruocco 7,388 8.3
Segni Pact Maria Gualandi 7,133 8.0
Independent Oliviero Toscani 3,225 3.6
Majority 35,072 39.6
Turnout 91,571 95.0
General Election 1994: Sassari
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Pole of Freedoms & Pole of Good Government Carmelo Porcu 30,623 36.1
Segni Pact Mariotto Segni 26,776 31.6
Alliance of Progressives Gavino Angius 17,570 20.7
Independent Giacomo Spissu 6,952 8.2
Independent Gavino Sale 1,185 1.4
Independent Giovanni Conoci 966 1.1
Independent Gianuario Pedoni 664 0.8
Majority 3,847 4.5
Turnout 89,504 86.0

Further reading


  1. "As Italy Votes, Golden Career Of Berlusconi Is at Crossroads". Wall Street Journal. 30 March 2006.
  2. "Italian Election, The Prelude". The American. 1 April 2006.
  3. Griffin, Roger (1996). "The 'Post-Fascism' of the Alleanza Nazionale: A Case Study in Ideological Morphology". Journal of Political. Ideologies. 1 (2): 123–145. doi:10.1080/13569319608420733. ’AN’s ideological tap-root is still thrust deep into historical Fascism... retaining many Fascist core values
  4. "Elezioni della Camera dei Deputati del 27 Marzo 1994" (in Italian). Italian Chamber of Deputies.
  5. Il Sole 24 Ore - Nel 1994 decisivi per Berlusconi tre senatori a vita.

External links

Preceded by
1992 general election
Italian general elections Succeeded by
1996 general election
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