More than 47 million Italians will go to the polls on 9 and 10 April to elect a new chamber of deputies (618 deputies plus a further 12 voted for by Italians living abroad) and a new senate (309 senators plus a further 6 voted for by Italians living abroad). Polling stations will be open from 08.00-22.00 on Sunday 9 April and from 07.00-15.00 on Monday 10 April.
The voting system in Italy has recently been changed and after ten years of a mixed system of voting will return to full proportional representation. Electors will be given a large pink voting form for the chamber of deputies and also a yellow voting form for the senate if they are over 25 years old. The ballot papers will have the symbols of all the political parties making up the LUlivo coalition (led by Romano Prodi) in one horizontal line and those making up the Casa delle Libert coalition (led by Silvio Berlusconi) in another horizontal line. On further lines will be the symbols of the political parties who are running independently.
On both ballot papers voters must mark only the symbol of the single party they wish to vote for. It is not possible to mark more than one symbol nor to express a preference for a particular person, and doing either of these will annul the vote. The electoral count will start at 15.00 on Monday 10 April.
Electors living abroad have already cast their votes, which had to arrive at their local consulate by 6 April. These votes will be sent on to Rome for counting.