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Italian vote with current election law would yield no winner – polls

ROME Italy’s three biggest parties are pushing for a national election this year, nine months ahead of schedule, but simulations published on Friday show no clear winner would emerge if the current voting system is used.

On Wednesday the Constitutional Court scrapped part of the lower house election law and left in its place a proportional system similar to the one that gave Italy 50 governments in 50 years after World War Two.

Three different newspapers published simulations that used recent polls to project the results of a hypothetical snap election using the lower-house law created by the court ruling, and all three show no party and none of the conceivable post-vote alliances would win a majority of seats.

“No plausible majority emerges,” Roberto D’Alimonte, a leading Italian expert on electoral systems, wrote in Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper.

President Sergio Mattarella, who is the only person with the power to dissolve parliament, has said that before an election is called the lower house rules should be aligned with the upper house’s slightly different proportional system.

Friday’s simulations may contribute to delaying a vote until the end of the legislature in 2018 because there is no agreement in parliament over what alternative election law to adopt.

But the country’s three biggest parties – Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD), Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, and the far-right Northern League – want a vote this year and have said it could be held with the current rules.

In 1993, Italy had abandoned a pure proportional system for one that was largely first-past-the-post. The PD and the Northern League have proposed reviving the 1993 law, but the idea so far has not garnered broad parliamentary backing.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Angus MacSwan)