The MiniDossier “Political Waltz” is out

We looked at one of the most interesting political phenomena of recent years: party switching. In only 2 years the MPs that changed political group are more than the ones of the previous Legislature. Who are they, why they did.

Party-switchers. Since march 2013 185 Members of Parliament switched group, for a total 235 changes. A very high number, considering that in two years of Legislature we almost reached the total amount of the previous Legislature (in 5 years – 261 switches made by 180 MPs). Not only Deputies and Senators change group more than once, but some go from opposition to majority.

Parties. We rarely witnessed individual decisions, rather internal divisions inside specific parties. In most cases the problem was backing the Government – as the internal split in Pdl between Fi (opposition) and Ncd (majority) – but in others the movements took place inside the majority – as it happened for Sc.

Votes. This continuous movement mostly helped “frontier groups”, as the case of the Gruppo Misto. Exactly for this reason it was very interesting to analyze the behavior in voting sessions, to see how much one drifted apart from the initial group after the switch. For example we saw how most of former Movimento 5 Stelle members now end up voting with the majority coalition.

Majority. Maybe its too early to make it a rule, but in recent years the branch of Parliament with most party switches was the one with fewer MPs backing the majority coalition. This explains why most group changes took place in the Chamber of Deputies in the previous Legislature, and in the Senate in the current.

Renominated. We wanted to find out where those that switched groups in the previous Legislature ended up. If generally changing group is not very advantageous (only 12% was reelected compared to 41% of loyal MPs), what makes the difference is where one choses to go. Those that left Berlusconi Government were rarely reelected (only 9%), while those that ended up saving his Government, the so called Responsabili, had better luck, 38%.

MiniDossier Openpolis. “Political Waltz – How often do Deputies and Senators change group, party and allegiance” is the fourth number of a series of publication called “MiniDossier”. Through a data journalism approach its goal is to verify, analyze and compare data from different official sources in order to suggest different point of views and tell different stories. To contribute and help this research, it is fundamental to support openpolis through our membership campaign.

For more information: