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%

Leader Silvio Berlusconi Achille Occhetto Mariotto Segni
Alliance Pole of Freedoms & Good Government Alliance of Progressives Pact for Italy
Leader's seat Rome Centre Bologna West Sassari (lost)
Seats won 366 C / 156 S 213 C / 122 S 46 C / 31 S
Coalition vote 16,585,516 C
14,110,705 S
13,308,244 C
10,881,320 S
6,098,986 C
5,519,090 S
Percentage 42.8% (C)
42.6% (S)
34.3% (C)
32.9% (S)
15.8% (C)
16.7% (S)

Election results maps for the Chamber of Deputies (on the left) and for the Senate (on the right). On the left, the color identifies the coalition which received the most votes in each province. On the right, the color identifies the coalition which won the most seats in respect to each Region. Blue denotes the Centre-right coalition, Red the Progressives and Gray regional parties.

Prime Minister before election

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi

Elected Prime Minister

Silvio Berlusconi
Forza Italia

A snap national general election was held in Italy on 27 March 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

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.

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.

Main coalitions and parties

Coalition Party Main ideology Leader
Pole of Freedoms
Pole of Good Government
Forza Italia (FI) Liberal conservatism Silvio Berlusconi
National Alliance (AN) Conservatism Gianfranco Fini
Northern League (LN) Regionalism Umberto Bossi
Christian Democratic Centre (CCD) Christian democracy Pier Ferdinando Casini
Pannella List (LP) Liberalism Marco Pannella
Union of the Centre (UdC) Liberalism Raffaele Costa
Liberal Democratic Pole (PLD) Liberalism Adriano Teso
Alliance of Progressives Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) Democratic socialism Achille Occhetto
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) Communism Fausto Bertinotti
Federation of the Greens (FdV) Green politics Franco Corleone
Italian Socialist Party (PSI) Social democracy Ottaviano Del Turco
The Network (LR) Christian left Leoluca Orlando
Democratic Alliance (UD) Social liberalism Willer Bordon
Social Christians (CS) Christian socialism Pierre Carniti
Socialist Rebirth (RS) Social democracy Giorgio Benvenuto
Pact for Italy Italian People's Party (PPI) Christian democracy Mino Martinazzoli
Segni Pact (PS) Centrism Mariotto Segni
Italian Republican Party (PRI) Liberalism Giorgio La Malfa

Main coalitions' 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

Results for the Chamber of Deputies

Overall results

Summary of the 27 March 1994 Chamber of Deputies election results
Coalition Party Proportional First-past-the-post Total
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Pole of Freedoms
Pole of Good Government
Forza ItaliaCCD (FI–CCD)8,136,13521.013018,179,27947.21102132[5]New
Northern League (LN)3,235,2488.3611107118+63
National Alliance (AN)5,214,13313.472387110+76
Pannella List (LP)1,359,2833.51066−1
Total seats64302366
Alliance of Progressives Democratic Party of the Left (PDS)7,881,64620.363812.632,68032.8186124[6]+17
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC)2,343,9466.05112738+3
Democratic Alliance (AD)456,1141.1801818[7]New
Italian Socialist Party (PSI)849,4292.1901414−78
Federation of the Greens (FdV)1,047,2682.7001111−5
The Network (LR)719,8411.86088−4
Total seats49164213
Pact for Italy Italian People's Party (PPI)4,287,17211.07296,019,03815.63433−173
Segni Pact (PS)1,811,8144.6813013New
Total seats42446
South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP)231,8420.600188,0170.4933±0
Southern Action League (LAM)59,8730.15046,8200.1311+1
Aosta Valley (VdA)N/AN/A043,7000.1111±0


Party Votes % Seats
Forza Italia 8,136,135 21.01 30
Democratic Party of the Left 7,881,646 20.36 38
National Alliance 5,214,133 13.47 23
Italian People's Party 4,287,172 11.07 29
Northern League 3,235,248 8.36 11
Communist Refoundation Party 2,343,946 6.05 11
Segni Pact 1,811,814 4.68 13
Pannella List 1,359,283 3.51 0
Federation of the Greens 1,047,268 2.70 0
Italian Socialist Party 849,429 2.19 0
The Network 719,841 1.86 0
Democratic Alliance 456,114 1.18 0
South Tyrolean People's Party 231,842 0.60 0
Social Democracy for Freedoms 179,495 0.46 0
Program Italy 151,328 0.39 0
Lega Alpina Lumbarda 136,782 0.35 0
Lega Autonomia Veneta 103,764 0.27 0
Southern Action League 59,873 0.15 0
Others 517,780 1.34 0
Total 38,720,893 100.00 155
Popular vote (Proportional)
La Rete


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

Results for the Senate of the Republic

Summary of the 27 March 1994 Senate of the Republic election results
Coalition Party First-past-the-post Proportional
Votes % Seats
Pole of Freedoms
Pole of Good Government
Northern League (LN)14,110,705[8]42.66[9]1282860+35
National Alliance (AN)48+32
Forza Italia (FI)35[10]New
Christian Democratic Centre (CCD)12New
Pannella List (LP)1+1
Alliance of Progressives Democratic Party of the Left (PDS)10,881,32032.90962676[11]+12
Communist Refoundation Party (PRC)18−2
Italian Socialist Party (PSI)9−40
Federation of the Greens (FdV)7+3
Democratic Alliance (AD)6New
The Network (LR)6+3
Total seats122
Pact for Italy (PpI)5,519,09016.6932831−76
South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP)217,1370.66303±0
Lega Alpina Lumbarda (LAL)246,0460.74011±0
Magris List (LM)61,4000.19101New
Aosta Valley (VdA)27,4930.08101±0
Pensioners' Party (PP)250,6370.76000±0
Lega Autonomia Veneta (LAV)165,3700.50000−1
Federalist Greens (VF)100,4180.30000±0
Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az)88,2250.27000±0
Natural Law Party (PLN)86,5790.26000New
Social Democracy for Freedoms80,2640.24000−3
The League of Angela Bossi72,4550.22000New
Greens Greens (VV)68,2180.21000±0
Veneto Autonomous Region Movement (MVRA)64,1490.19000±0
Southern Action League (LAM)54,3950.16000±0
League for Piedmont49,5050.15000New
Popular vote


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 Northern League 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.

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.[12]

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 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 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 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

  • Carter, Nick (1998). Italy: The Demise of Post-War Partyocracy. Political Parties and the Collapse of the Old Orders. State University of New York Press. pp. 71–94. 
  • Diamanti, Ilvo; Mannheimer, Renato, eds. (1994). Milano a Roma: guida all'Italia elettorale del 1994. Donzelli. 
  • Parker, Simon (1996). Electoral reform and political change in Italy, 1991–1994. The New Italian Republic: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to Berlusconi. Routledge. pp. 40–56. 


  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. Archived from the original on 2009-06-12.
  5. Including 27 deputies of the Christian Democratic Centre (CCD), 4 deputies of the Union of the Centre (UdC) and 2 deputies of the Liberal Democratic Pole (PLD)
  6. Including 8 deputies of the Social Christians (CS)
  7. Including 6 deputies of the Republican Left (SR), one deputy of Socialist Rebirth (RS) and one deputy of the Italian Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI)
  8. 6,570,468 votes for the Pole of Freedoms (in the Northern Italy), 4,544,573 votes for the Pole of Good Government (in the Southern Italy), 2,077,934 votes for National Alliance (in the Northern Italy), 767,765 votes for the Pannella List and 149,965 votes for Forza Italia–CCD (in Abruzzo)
  9. 19.87% of the votes for the Pole of Freedoms, 13.74% of the votes for the Pole of Good Government, 6.28% of the votes for National Alliance, 2.32% of the votes for the Pannella List and 0.45% of the votes for Forza Italia–CCD
  10. Including 2 senators of the Union of the Centre (UdC)
  11. Including 6 senators of the Social Christians (CS) and 2 senators of the Labour Federation (FL)
  12. Il Sole 24 Ore - Nel 1994 decisivi per Berlusconi tre senatori a vita.
Preceded by
1992 general election
Italian general elections Succeeded by
1996 general election
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