Italy changing electoral rules months before EU elections means an attack on Italian and European democracy

In the Italian Senate, a group of senators affiliated with the “Fratelli d’Italia” party, part of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), have introduced an amendment that significantly alters the existing electoral regulations in Italy.

It must be noted that Italian electoral laws are already regarded as some of the most convoluted and opaque in Europe, particularly for smaller political entities. We strongly condemn this amendment, which would only exacerbate the situation, especially considering its timing—mere months before the scheduled vote. This move demonstrates a blatant disregard for the recommendations of the Venice Commission and constitutes a direct attack on the principle of equal access to the upcoming European elections slated for June 2024.

The proposed amendment seeks to disenfranchise ethnic minorities, historic autonomist movements, local civic groups, and smaller European political parties, including our own, the European Free Alliance (EFA). At this juncture in the political calendar, smaller forces would effectively be barred from participating in the elections, as they would be required to gather an exorbitant 150,000 signatures (30,000 in each of the five Italian constituencies, with a minimum of 3,000 in each region of the Republic, including the smallest regions like Valle d’Aosta and Molise). This imposition is akin to wielding a sword of Damocles and is already subject to criticism in its own right. Its sudden imposition at this juncture is absolutely unacceptable.

The European Free Alliance and “Autonomie e Ambiente” (Autonomies and Environment), the Italian network of EFA member parties and their local allies, will continue to actively monitor and address this issue.