From divorce to abortion: the referendums that changed Italy – iO Donna

From divorce to abortion: the referendums that changed Italy - iO Donna

THEthe next Referendum on justice Sunday 12 June will be the 78th national referendum in 76 years of republican history, from ’46 to today. Of all these, 67 were repealed, four constitutional, one advisory and one institutional. Let’s review how they went, and what they changed.

All the Referendums in the history of Italy: the most important

The very first institutional referendum was the one by which we live today in a Republic and no longer in a monarchy. It was the fundamental vote of June 2, 1946.

It was the first referendum and also the only one to propose, in addition to the questions with the boxes to be ticked, two symbols on the respective options: on the left the face of Italy turreted in the appearance of a young woman, To the right the coat of arms of the Savoy kingdom. It was the referendum with the percentage of turnout never reached so far: 89.1%.

referendum monarchy republic

The institutional referendum that gave birth to the Italian Republic on 2 June 1946

The abrogative referendums: the yes to divorce in ’74

The largest number is obviously the one concerning the abrogative referendums, some of which are epochal for our country.

The first was the divorce in 1974. 87.7% of the 37.6 million voters went to vote, the second ever turnout percentage. Those opposed to the abolition of divorce won with 59% of the votes, while those in favor were 41%.

Other crucial issues concerned the referendum of 1981. There were five in all, with a quorum reached and a turnout of 79.4%, but no questions passed. In particular, the majority of the voters were against the abolition of life imprisonment (77.4%) and against new regulations that granted the possession of weapons (85.9%).

The yes to abortion in 1978

The most important was that on abortion and the repeal of law 194, “Rules for the social protection of maternity and on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy”. Approved on May 22, 1978, it had sanctioned the right to a public and free abortion.

May 17, 1981, the Italians were called to vote for the two abrogative referendums that wanted to change the law. On one side there was the proposal of the Radical Party (88.4%) on the other that of Movement for life (68%).

Both asked for the repeal of some provisions of law 194 on abortion, but in the opposite sense: the first to make recourse more free, the second to restrict its lawfulness.

The Italians at the polls rejected both questions. Instead, they chose to preserve the law that allowed the voluntary termination of pregnancy in a public facility, in the first 90 days of gestation. He allowed it between the fourth and fifth month only for therapeutic reasons. And it allowed doctors conscientious objection.

Yes to the stop to nuclear power in 1987

On November 8, 1987 there is the first victory of the YES in the referendum. And five are given to the questions raised by the radicals, among which the most important concern nuclear power (the Chernobyl accident was the year before), the civil liability of the judges and the investigating commission. Right from this referendum even today Italy does not have nuclear power plants on its territory.

1990 was the turn of the environmental referendums. The Greens, in fact, in the wake of the victory for nuclear power, together with the radicals launched three questions on hunting and the use of pesticides in agriculture. For the first time in history, even a quorum was not reached.

No to assisted reproduction in 2005

On 12 and 13 June 2005 we vote for four distinct questions on medically assisted procreation (law 40/04). The quorum is not reached80% of those who vote asked to cancel the prohibitions on assisted fertilization and research on embryonic stem cells.

In the following years, the courts canceled three out of four. And so today in Italy it is possible to practice heterologous fertilizationthe fertilization of more than three gametes and access to medically assisted procreation for fertile couples with genetic pathologies.

The constitutional referendums: the No to the Renzi-Boschi 2016 reform

As for the 4 “constitutional”they have all taken place in the past 21 years, but only two got YES: that of 2001 on the modification of Title V of the Constitution and that, in 2021, on the reduction of the number of parliamentarians.

One of the best known “constitutional” is the one that has indirectly “Dropped” Matteo Renzi and also determined the political fate of a government. In 2016, in fact, that 59.12% NO to the constitutional reform Renzi-Boschi, made the then young prime minister resign.

The only “consultative” took place in 1989. It concerned the conferral of a constituent mandate to the European Parliament and had a positive outcome.

The differences between constitutional, abrogative and consultative referendum

The referendum is the main instrument of direct democracy, through which the electorate is asked to vote (yes / no) on particular proposals. There are different types of referendums: institutional, constitutional, abrogative, consultative.

With the abrogative referendum citizens are called upon to decide whether to repeal (abolish) a law or not. It involves reaching the electoral quorum, which means that 50% + 1 of those entitled to vote must go to vote.

With the constitutional referendum the people decide instead whether or not to confirm a constitutional revision law already approved by Parliament, but without a qualified majority of two thirds. For this type of referendum, also called confirmatory, there is no quorum: Regardless of the number of participants, the option that received the most votes wins.

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Then there is the consultative referendum, used only to know popular opinion in about a particular political issue, but without any constraints on the rulers.


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