Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 January 2016
The aim of this article is to describe the evolution of the Italian regional party systems 25 years after the establishment of 15 Ordinary Statute regions and five years after the implementation of a major Constitutional reform increasing the powers of the regions and the visibility of regional political actors. The theoretical point of departure of the article is the second order election model originally applied to European elections to highlight their dependence on the national political level. The article begins by showing that this model has been applicable for regional elections only since the mid-1990s, a finding that goes against the conventional wisdom. The article then explains the structure of regional political competition through the analysis of two phenomena, fragmentation and differentiation, and the way they are correlated, stressing the changing pattern of competition before and after the breakdown of the First Republic.
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