Italian general election, 1874

Italian general election, 1874

8–15 November 1874

All 508 seats to the Italian Chamber of Deputies

  Majority party Minority party
Leader Marco Minghetti Agostino Depretis
Party Historical Right Historical Left
Leader's seat Legnago Stradella
Seats won 276 232
Seat change 43 37
Popular vote 156,784 150,119
Percentage 53.6% 46.4%

Prime Minister before election

Marco Minghetti
Historical Right

Elected Prime Minister

Marco Minghetti
Historical Right

The 1874 Italian general election was held in Italy on 8 November, with a second round of voting on 15 November.[1] They were a snap election, called by Prime Minister Marco Minghetti to strengthen his majority.

Only 571,939 men of a total population of around 28 million were entitled to vote.[2] Right-wing candidates emerged as the largest bloc in Parliament with around 48% of the seats in Parliament.[3] They were largely aristocrats representing rentiers from the north of the country, and held moderate political views including loyalty to the crown and low government spending.[4]

Electoral campaign

Prime Minister Marco Minghetti and his influent Minister of the Treasury Quintino Sella were involved into an ambitious program of budget which needed a strong majority, for which they tried to oblige the Independents to choose their side, beginning to build a two-party system as in the United Kingdom.[5] However, in the Italian non-partisan political system, hugely affected by localism and corruption, their bet was equivalent to an all-in that afterwards they lost.[6]

The election did not give to Minghetti the advantage he was hoping, especially for the high support to the opposition in Southern Italy.[7] His government survived, but the bipolarisation of the Parliament he had imposed, strengthened the Historical Left so that it could take the leadership of the country. Two years later, MPs from Tuscany became dissatisfied with the government after it refused to intervene in the financial problems of Florence. The government was defeated on a vote on nationalising railways on 18 March 1876 and was forced to resign.[8] As a result, Agostino Depretis, leader of the left-wing bloc, became Prime Minister, with 414 of the 508 MPs supporting the government.[8] Early elections were held in November.

Parties and leaders

Party Ideology Leader
Historical Right Conservatism, Monarchism Marco Minghetti
Historical Left Liberalism, Centrism Agostino Depretis


Summary of November 1874 Chamber of Deputies election results
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Historical Right156,784[lower-alpha 1]53.6276+43
Historical Left150,119[lower-alpha 1]46.4232+37
Invalid/blank votes11,614
Registered voters/turnout571,93955.7
Source: Nohlen & Stöver
  1. 1 2 Estimate
Popular vote
Historical Right
Historical Left


  1. Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. Nohlen & Stöver, p1049
  3. Nohlen & Stöver, p1082
  4. Nohlen & Stöver, p1028
  5. La Stampa, Thursday, 5 November 1874
  6. La Stampa, Sunday, 8 November 1874
  7. La Stampa, Monday, 16 November 1974
  8. 1 2 Nohlen & Stöver, p1029
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