Revote with Rosatellum if no majority-Berlusconi (4)

Signs another 'pledge with Italians'

Revote with Rosatellum if no majority-Berlusconi (4)

Rome, February 14 - Italy should vote again with its existing but highly criticised Rosatellum election law if no majority emerges after the March 4 general election, ex-premier and centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday as he signed another TV pledge with Italians on his manifesto in the same studio he did 17 years ago in 2001. "If there is no clear outcome we must go immediately to the polls again," he said on RAI TV. "Let us revote with this election law as fast as possible because there would be no majority to change it (the Rosatellum)", the three-time ex-premier and media magnate said on the Ports a Porta show. Signing the new 'pledge with Italians which one journalist dubbed the St Valentines Day Pact, Berlusconi joked with host Bruno Vespa: "17 years ago I had less hair, and you had more, I'll let you know the name of my hair expert". Asked previously about the probability of another inconclusive result, Berlusconi has said Italian voters would have the "good sense" to vote for the centre right the second time around, an alliance which he said was most likely to "guarantee stability". He said he would tell this to President Sergio Mattarella in the likely event of an inconclusive election. The Rosatellum is nicknamed after former Democratic Party Lower House whip Ettore Rosato, who framed it. According to the Rosatellum 2 law, 36% of seats are allocated via first-past-the-post - 232 out of 630 in the House and 116 out of 315 in the Senate - with the remaining 64% awarded via proportional representation. There is a 3% entry bar for individual parties and a 10% one for coalitions. If a party fails to reach 3%, but is part of a coalition that gets 10% or more, that party's votes are transferred to the biggest group in the coalition. Voters will be faced with a single ballot slip with the names of the candidates for the single-member constituencies - elected via first-past-the-post - linked to the symbols of lists for the proportional part and the relative candidates. Unlike the never-used Italicum system that was passed in 2015, the Rosatellum does not have a system for awarding bonus seats to the party or coalition that comes first to ensure it has a working majority in parliament. Indeed, many fear that the new system will fail to produce a clear winner. Some experts have calculated that a party or coalition will need to get 40-42% of the vote to win the election, although much depends on how the battles go in the winner-takes-all seats.

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