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The 2001 Italian expatriate vote: Was it worth it?

A view from the Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica college

Bruno Mascitelli, Rory Steele and Simone Battiston

This book examines the implementation and consequences of the Italian expatriate vote and representation introduced in 2001 in the external electoral colleges with special attention to the Electoral College known as Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica. The Italian elections of 2006, 2008 and 2013 were important moments where the expatriate vote was expressed providing results which Italian lawmakers may have not anticipated. Moreover, the electoral expressions of the external colleges were not always in accord with Italians ones. This study examines how the stakeholders in the Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica college understood and perceived this voting and representation facility after its implementation. What they thought in 2001 and what they think now. The study seeks the views of focus groups across numerous cities in Australia, interviews the protagonists and provides critical commentary on the future of this «right» and whether all this effort «was worth it» in providing Italians abroad with external voting and representation in elections and referendums.


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3. Italian Expatriate Voting: The Australian Experience 43


CHAPTER 3* Italian Expatriate Voting: The Australian Experience According to many observers, the first true test of the new voting pro- cedures for overseas voters was to take place at the 2006 Italian par- liamentary elections. Unlike the referendums of 2003 and 2005, which provided expatriate Italians with the first experience of the postal vot- ing opportunity to engage in Italians politics, it did not capture the electorate’s attention and it did not reach the political imagination or interest as occurred in 2006. Indeed the most innovative element of the new legislation, the election of eighteen overseas-based parliamen- tarians, was to be implemented for the first time with this general elec- tion of 2006. The legislative and constitutional changes of 2000-2003 which addressed the enactment of the vote and representation to Italians abroad to the broader general public almost went unnoticed. This his- toric event transformed, once and for all, the electoral and political weight of the Italian overseas vote (Tarli Barbieri 2007: 121). While the laws received bipartisan parliamentary approval and lip service, they failed to receive genuine financial and structural support by the government. Moreover the laws that passed posed great difficulty in its administration across the globe. This only became apparent in the wake of the 2006 elections. This chapter analyses the outcome of the last three general elec- tions (2006, 2008 and 2013) since the enactment of the Italian expatri- ate vote legislation. It does so in the wider Italian, off-shore and Aus- * This is an...

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