European elections, the hemorrhage of#8217; turnout: in forty#8217; years in Italy lost 30% of voters.While in the rest of the trend union is opposite

European elections, the hemorrhage of#8217; turnout: in forty#8217; years in Italy lost 30% of voters.While in the rest of the trend union is opposite

European Elections: The Hemorrhage of Voters in Italy vs. the Opposite Trend in the EU


The European elections have been witnessing significant changes in voter turnout across the European Union (EU). While some countries experience a surge in voter interest, others face a hemorrhage of voters. This contrasting trend is particularly evident when comparing Italy to the EU average. In this paragraph, we will explore the reasons behind these divergent trends and discuss their potential implications.

Italy’s Voter Exodus:

The hemorrhage of voters in Italy can be attributed to several factors. First, the Italian political landscape is characterized by a high degree of instability and fragmentation. The country has experienced numerous coalition governments in recent decades, leading to public disillusionment and cynicism towards the political class. Additionally, the rise of populist parties like the Five-Star Movement and the League has further polarized Italian politics, driving some voters away from mainstream parties and the electoral process altogether.

The EU’s Voter Surge:

On the other hand, some EU countries have seen a surge in voter turnout. This trend can be linked to several factors, including increased EU integration, growing awareness of contact issues, and the perceived importance of having a voice in the decision-making process at the EU level. For instance, countries like Poland, Denmark, and Estonia have consistently reported high voter turnout rates in recent contact elections.


The divergent trends in voter turnout between Italy and the EU have important implications for both the national and contact levels. At the national level, the low voter turnout in Italy may undermine the legitimacy of its political institutions and further fuel public discontent. At the EU level, a high voter turnout can lead to a more representative and inclusive decision-making process, enhancing the legitimacy and effectiveness of European institutions.


In conclusion, the European elections have witnessed a contrasting trend in voter turnout between Italy and the EU. While some countries experience a surge in voter interest, others face a hemorrhage of voters. This trend has implications for both the national and European levels and underscores the need for continued efforts to engage citizens in the democratic process and address the root causes of disillusionment and cynicism towards politics.

I. Introduction

Brief overview of European elections

Every five years, citizens of the European Union (EU) cast their votes to elect members of the European Parliament. These elections, held in May, serve as a crucial moment in EU politics, providing an opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions and influence decision-making at the European level. With 27 member states and over 440 million inhabitants, European elections represent one of the largest transnational democratic processes in the world.

Importance of voter turnout in democratic processes

Voter turnout plays a pivotal role in the legitimacy and effectiveness of any democratic process. In the context of European elections, high voter turnout is essential for ensuring that the EU institutions truly reflect the will of its citizens. A well-informed and engaged electorate can contribute to more meaningful debates, better policies, and a stronger sense of solidarity within the EU.

Mention of the contrasting trends between Italy and EU average

However, while the importance of voter turnout in European elections is universally acknowledged, there are noticeable discrepancies among EU member states. For instance, consider the case of Italy, which traditionally records some of the lowest voter turnout rates in Europe. In contrast, the EU average has seen a slight upward trend over the last decade, with an overall participation rate of approximately 50%. This contrasting trend between Italy and the EU average poses a significant challenge for maintaining the democratic legitimacy of European institutions and fostering greater citizen engagement.

European elections, the hemorrhage of#8217; turnout: in forty#8217; years in Italy lost 30% of voters.While in the rest of the trend union is opposite

Background: European Elections in Italy – A Decade-Long Decline

Historical context of voter turnout in Italian elections (11980s-present)

The historical context of voter turnout in Italian elections provides an essential backdrop to understanding the current state of European elections in the country. Starting with the first direct European elections held in 1983, Italy registered a high voter turnout of 76%. This was an impressive figure, considering the country’s post-World War II economic miracle and the ongoing consolidation of democracy.

Downward trend: From 1994 to present

However, the tide began to turn in the early 1990s. Several factors contributed to a downward trend in voter participation in Italian elections. Political disaffection and economic instability, which had been brewing for years, came to a head. The country experienced a series of political crises and scandals that further eroded public trust in the political establishment.

Political shifts

These crises paved the way for significant political shifts. New parties emerged on the scene, such as the Five Star Movement and Lega. Forza Italia, led by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, also gained considerable popularity. These parties capitalized on the disillusionment and frustration of the electorate and promised to bring about change.

Economic instability

Meanwhile, Italy’s economy continued to falter. High unemployment rates and a significant public debt forced the government to implement a series of harsh austerity measures. These measures further alienated the electorate, leading many to withdraw from the political process altogether.

2019 European elections: A continued decrease in voter turnout

These trends culminated in the 2019 European elections. Despite the critical importance of these elections, voter turnout dropped to a dismal 53%. This was almost a 7 percentage point decrease compared to the previous election. The implications of this trend are far-reaching, as Italy’s underrepresented voice in European policy-making could have significant consequences for the country and the EU as a whole.

European elections, the hemorrhage of#8217; turnout: in forty#8217; years in Italy lost 30% of voters.While in the rest of the trend union is opposite

I Contrasting Trends: European Elections in Other EU Countries

Comparison with the EU average:

Since the first direct elections to the European Parliament in 1979, there has been an upward trend in European awareness and the role of the EU in people’s lives. This trend is reflected in the increasing voter turnout across Europe. According to the European Parliament, voter turnout has risen from 62% in 1979 to a peak of 63.1% in 2014, with an average of 50.6% for the 2019 elections. This trend can be observed in several EU countries, including Belgium and Austria, which have compulsory voting systems.

Increase in European awareness and the role of the EU in people’s lives:

The EU has become an increasingly significant part of people’s daily lives, with issues such as freedom of movement, employment opportunities, and environmental regulations affecting them directly. As a result, European elections have gained more importance in the eyes of voters. The EU’s role as a peacekeeping force and its efforts to address global challenges like climate change and migration have also contributed to this trend.

Higher voter turnout due to compulsory voting systems:

In countries with compulsory voting systems, citizens are required by law to cast their ballots in elections. This practice has been effective in increasing voter turnout in countries like Belgium and Austria. In the 2019 European elections, for example, Austria had a voter turnout of 71.8%, while Belgium recorded 86.3%.

Exceptions to the trend:

Despite this positive trend, there are several EU countries where voter turnout remains stable or has even declined. These exceptions include Greece and Portugal.

Factors contributing to stable or declining voter turnout:

In countries like Greece and Portugal, there are several factors that have contributed to the stagnation or decline in voter turnout. Economic factors, such as high unemployment rates and poverty, can discourage people from participating in elections. Political instability and a lack of trust in political institutions are other factors that may deter voters from engaging in the democratic process. Demographic changes, such as an aging population, can also impact voter turnout rates.

European elections, the hemorrhage of#8217; turnout: in forty#8217; years in Italy lost 30% of voters.While in the rest of the trend union is opposite

Analysis: Causes and Consequences of Low Voter Turnout in Italy

Political Consequences:

Italy’s low voter turnout poses significant political consequences for the country. The apathy of Italian voters (approximately 50% in the last European Parliament elections) undermines the stability and legitimacy of Italian democracy. The lack of engagement from citizens can lead to the election of extremist or unrepresentative politicians, which could further alienate the electorate and exacerbate the trend towards disengagement. This cycle of low voter turnout and ineffective representation can pose a threat to the very foundation of Italian democratic institutions.

Policy Implications:

Moreover, the low voter turnout in Italy carries important policy implications for both the European Union and Italy’s role within it.

Consequences for Italian representation in the European Parliament:

A low turnout in national elections can impact Italy’s voice and influence in the European Parliament. With fewer citizens engaging in the democratic process, Italy may be less able to effectively advocate for its interests within the larger EU framework.

Social Consequences:

Additionally, the low voter turnout in Italy has significant social consequences. Disengagement from the political process can weaken civil society and erode public opinion. This can lead to a growing sense of distrust and cynicism towards democratic institutions, further fueling the cycle of disengagement.

European elections, the hemorrhage of#8217; turnout: in forty#8217; years in Italy lost 30% of voters.While in the rest of the trend union is opposite

Possible Solutions: Reviving Voter Participation in Italian Elections

Institutional solutions:

Changes to the electoral system or reforms within existing political structures can significantly impact voter participation in Italian elections. Bold Below are some italic examples from other countries that could be considered:

Online voting:

Countries like Estonia have successfully implemented online voting, making the process more convenient and accessible for citizens. Italy could explore this option to attract tech-savvy and busy voters.

Compulsory voting:

This system, in place in countries like Australia and Brazil, requires eligible citizens to cast their votes. Though controversial, it can lead to higher voter turnout.

Ranked-choice voting:

The United States and other countries are experimenting with ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. This system can encourage more informed votes and reduce the impact of vote splitting.

Educational solutions:

Public awareness campaigns and civic education initiatives are crucial to increase voter participation, especially among younger generations. Collaboration between various stakeholders is essential:

Civil society organizations:

NGOs, non-profits, and advocacy groups can organize events, workshops, and campaigns to promote civic engagement.

Schools and universities:

Institutions can incorporate civic education into their curriculum, helping students understand the importance of voting and how it affects society.

Political parties:

Parties can take a proactive role in educating their supporters about the importance of voting and the issues at stake.

Strategies for engaging underrepresented groups:

It’s crucial to address the specific challenges faced by youth, immigrants, and women in participating in elections. Targeted outreach and policies can help bridge the gap:


Innovative campaigns, such as social media initiatives or student engagement programs, can encourage young voters to participate.


Policies that accommodate language barriers and ease the registration process for newcomers can help increase voter turnout among this group.


Addressing issues specific to women, such as safety concerns and childcare, can make the voting process more accessible and appealing.

European elections, the hemorrhage of#8217; turnout: in forty#8217; years in Italy lost 30% of voters.While in the rest of the trend union is opposite

Conclusion: Revitalizing Voter Turnout in Italian European Elections

VI. Recap of the Main Findings:

This analysis has shed light on the significant decline in voter turnout in Italian European elections compared to other EU countries. With each successive election since Italy’s entry into the European Union, the participation rate has dropped sharply. In the 2019 European Parliament elections, only 53.4% of Italians cast their votes, which was the second-lowest rate among EU member states. The contrast between Italy’s low voter turnout and the high average in other European countries calls for urgent attention.

Reflection on the Importance of Addressing This Issue:

The significant decline in voter turnout in Italian European elections poses a threat to the democratic process and the legitimacy of EU institutions. By not engaging in the electoral process, Italian citizens are forfeiting their right to shape the future of Europe and diminishing trust in the political system. Moreover, this trend is not unique to Italy alone; low voter turnout has become a worrying trend across Europe as a whole. Thus, revitalizing democratic participation in Italy and other EU countries is of paramount importance for restoring trust and legitimacy in the European project.