Italian general election, 1861

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Italian general election, 1861

27 January–3 February 1861 1865 →

All 443 seats to the Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy

  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Camillo Benso Cavour di Ciseri.jpg Urbano Rattazzi-lookingleft.jpg Giuseppe Mazzini.jpg
Leader Camillo Benso di Cavour Urbano Rattazzi Giuseppe Mazzini
Party Historical Right Historical Left Historical Far Left
Seats won 342 62 14
Popular vote 110,448 48,875 5,510
Percentage 46.1% 20.4% 2.3%

Prime Minister before election

None

Elected Prime Minister

Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour
Historical Right

General elections were held in Italy on 27 January 1861, with a second round on 3 February.[1] The newly elected Parliament first convened in Turin on 4 March 1861, where, thirteen days later, it declared the unification of the country as the Kingdom of Italy.[2]

The election was carried out according to the 1848 electoral law of the Kingdom of Sardinia, in which only literate men over the age of 25 and paying a certain level of taxation were allowed to vote.[1] Candidates were elected in single member constituencies, with a second round required in cases when no candidates received over 50% of the vote or the equivalent of one-third of the registered voters in the constituency.[3] The Pope demanded that Catholics did not take part in the elections.[3]

Electoral campaign

The Historical Right was led by the former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, a long-time statesman and a leading figure in the movement toward Italian unification.

On the other hand, the bloc of the Historical Left was led by Urbano Rattazzi, a liberal politician who was among the founders of the Italian left-wing parliamentary group.

In opposition to the two main blocs there were a third party known as The Extreme, a far-left coalition, under the leadership of Giuseppe Mazzini, an Italian revolutionary and a key figure of the Unification.

Only 418,696 men of a total population of around 22 million were entitled to vote.[4] Right-wing candidates emerged as the largest bloc in Parliament with around 43% of the 443 seats.[5] 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.[6] The right-wing leader Camillo Benso di Cavour was elected as the first Prime Minister in the history of Italy.

Parties and leaders

Party Ideology Leader
Historical Right Conservatism, Monarchism Camillo Benso di Cavour
Historical Left Liberalism, Centrism Urbano Rattazzi
Historical Far Left Republicanism, Radicalism Giuseppe Mazzini

Results

Summary of February 1861 Chamber of Deputies election results
Italian Parliament 1861.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/−
Historical Right 110,448[a] 46.1 342 New
Historical Left 48,875[a] 20.4 62 New
Historical Far Left 5,510[a] 2.3 14 New
Independents 9,344[a] 3.9 25 New
Others 65,406[a] 27.3
Invalid/blank votes
Total 239,583 100 443 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 418,696 57.2
Source: Nohlen & Stöver
  1. ^ a b c d e Estimate
Popular vote
Historical Right
46.2%
Historical Left
20.4%
Historical Far Left
2.3%
Independent
3.9%
Others
27.3%
Parliamentary seats
Historical Right
77.2%
Historical Left
14.0%
Historical Far Left
3.1%
Independent
5.2%

Vote by geographical area

Party North Centre South
Historical Right 52.48% 68.00% 34.16%
Historical Left 31.21% 15.00% 27.72%
Historical Far Left 1.42% 1.00% 3.96%
Others 14.89% 16.00% 34.16%

References

  1. ^ a b Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p. 1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p. 1027
  3. ^ a b Nohlen & Stöver, p. 1039
  4. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p. 1049
  5. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p. 1082
  6. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p. 1028
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