1998 年 13 巻 p. 207-216,275
The article examines the 1996 Italian elections especially focusing on the transformation of the party system. Of the various changes in the Italian politics in recent years, the party system has experienced the most drastic change. The traditional parties such as Christian Democrats and Italian Socialist Party had formed the political system known as partitocrazia (partyocracy) but both the system and the parties have disappeared in the early 90s. New electoral systems for both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate introduced in 1993 accelerate the transformation of the party system. Under the new system, seventy five per cent of members are elected from single-member districts through a ‘first past the post’ system and twenty five per cent of them are elected through proportional system. This system was supposed to make the party system more competitive and to resolve the long-term Italian political problem the absence of alternation in government. This problem seems to be cleared, because after the 1994 elections, right wing coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi formed government and in the 1996 elections the center-left coalition under the symbol of Olive Tree with Communist Refoundation got a majority in both Houses. Does this truly mean that Italian party system is changing into the bipolar party system? Is the coalition the unit of recent Italian interparty competition? The formation of electoral coalitions indicates a tendency of bipolarization of parties, but it remains unclear that coalitions are the unit of competition because they are unstable and heterogeneous. If parties are the unit of competition, Italian party system is still far from being the two-party system, because it is too fragmented. It can be concluded that Italian party system after the 1996 elections is still unstable.