MPs that change political group, a new MiniDossier by openpolis

Every month at least 10 members of the Italian parliament change political group. A political waltz with numbers never seen before both in the chamber of deputies and the senate. A new MiniDossier by openpolis analyzing those that go, and those that come.

Giro di valzer is the fourth MiniDossier published by openpolis in 2016. Its the second edition of an annual report analyzing party switching in Italy. After last year’s study, numbers have kept on growing, bringing this type of phenomenon to become a recurrent event in our parliament. Constitutionally deputies and senators are free to change as many political groups as they desire, since they are elected without an imperative mandate.

In just over three years, 252 members of parliament changed political group at least once, for a total of 347 switches (178 in the chamber of deputies and 169 in the senate). On average, at least ten members of parliament change group every month, which is more than twice the average of the previous legislature.

The high numbers have been severely influenced by the “explosion” of two of the main political coalition that took part in the last elections in 2013: il Popolo delle libertà and Scelta civica per l’Italia. The first is now divided in Forza Italia, Area popolare (Ncd-Udc), Conservatori e riformisti and Alleanza liberalpopolare-Autonomie, the second in Scelta civica, Per l’Italia and Democrazia solidale.

Interestingly many MPs changed party more than once (some even six times) and others even exited and then re-entered the same group several times. Furthermore both at the chamber of deputies and the senate, some MPs went from being part of the majority, to being part of the opposition. For example, eleven politicians elected with the Movimento 5 stelle are now in political groups that are part of the majority.