The army of candidates: Aspiring councillors during Italy’s municipal elections


Municipal elections were held in Italy on 3-4 October, with a further ballot being held in 65 municipalities on 17-18 October. Marino De Luca assesses what lessons can be learned from participation rates in the elections.

On 3 and 4 October 2021, votes were cast in Italy for the direct election of mayors and municipal councils. This involved 1,191 municipalities (1,153 in the 15 regions with ordinary statutes and 38 in the region with a special statute, Friuli Venezia Giulia) for 12,147,040 voters distributed over 14,505 sections.

In particular, there were elections in 19 provincial capitals, of which six were also regional capitals: Bologna, Milan, Naples, Rome, Turin and Trieste. In 65 municipalities there will be a ballot on 17 and 18 October. The ballot, in the Italian legal system, goes ahead in two cases. First, in all municipalities that are called “superiors” – with a population greater than 15,000 inhabitants (in the autonomous province of Trento, this threshold is lowered to 3,000) – if no candidate for mayor has managed to obtain 50%+1 of the valid votes in the first round; and second, in municipalities with fewer than 15,000 inhabitants (3,000 in the autonomous province of Trento), if the first round ended with a tie between two candidates.

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