2022 Italian referendum

Article

July 5, 2022

The Italian referendum of 2022 takes place on June 12, 2022 in Italy in order to allow the population to decide on the repeal of five laws or decrees relating to the field of Justice. Each of the five questions is subject to an abrogative referendum on the proposal of nine regions governed by the center-right coalition. To be validated, the repeal of one of these texts must bring together the favorable votes of an absolute majority of the votes cast, and participation must reach the required quorum of 50% of the total number of registered voters. Although approved by the voters who went to the polls, the five repeal proposals failed, none of them having met the required turnout.

Implementation

The ballot is the culmination of several referendum requests initiated by a total of nine Italian regions, all governed by the center-right Coalition: Basilicata, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Sardinia, Sicily, Umbria and Veneto. In accordance with article 75 of the Constitution, a minimum of 500,000 voters or five Italian regions can indeed trigger the organization of abrogative referendums on existing laws. At the initiative of the League, the nine regions thus propose the partial or total repeal of several laws or decrees implementing legal texts concerning the judiciary. The centre-right coalition then controlled enough regions to trigger such referendums, but nevertheless proceeded to collect signatures in order to legitimize them on the basis of popular support. Made public on May 6, 2021, the six projects – one of which was subsequently invalidated by the Constitutional Court – were officially validated by the Supreme Court of Cassation on the following June 3, opening the next day the 90-day collection period, which must then end on September 30, 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an exceptional extension is however granted until October 31, as well as the use of collection by electronic signature via the Public Authentication System digital (SPID). Between 700,000 and 775,000 signatures are thus collected. The coalition nevertheless submits its referendum requests on October 30, 2021 via the regional, and not popular, process. The Constitutional Court validates five of the six questions on February 16, 2022 and rejects the sixth. The Italian constitution provides that a request for a referendum deemed admissible by the Constitutional Court must lead to its organization between 15th April and the following 15th June. The date of June 12, 2022, at the same time as the municipal elections, is finally chosen. The choice of this date represents both an advantage and a disadvantage for the initiators of the referendum. A common ballot for municipal elections indeed promotes higher participation, while its organization in mid-June encourages abstention on the part of holidaymakers.

Content

Voting questions

Five questions are submitted to the vote of the voters. All relate to the repeal of a law related to the field of justice: Repeal of part of the legislative decree of December 31, 2012, known as the Severino Law (it). The latter prohibits persons sentenced to at least two years in prison from exercising elective and governmental functions or from standing for election to them. Repeal of part of the presidential decree of September 22, 1988 limiting pre-trial detention to the risk of repeating an offense punishable by at least four years in prison or a misdemeanor punishable by at least five years in prison, . Repeal of several passages of a set of decrees relaxing the separation of the careers of magistrates and prosecutors. The passages concerned allow