1924 Italian General Election
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1924 Italian General Election
1924 Italian general election

← 1921 6 April 1924 1929 →

All 535 seats to the Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Benito Mussolini crop.jpg Alcide de Gasperi 2.jpg Giacomo Matteotti 2.jpg
Leader Benito Mussolini Alcide De Gasperi Giacomo Matteotti
Party National List People's Party Unitary Socialist Party
Seats won 374 39 24
Seat change new party Decrease69 new party
Popular vote 4,653,488 645,789 422,957
Percentage 64.9% 9.0% 5.9%
Swing new party Decrease11.4% new party

General elections were held in Italy on 6 April 1924.[1] They were held under the Acerbo Law, which stated that the party with the largest share of the votes would automatically receive two-thirds of the seats in Parliament as long as they received over 25% of the vote.[2] The National List of Benito Mussolini (an alliance with Catholics, liberals and conservatives) used intimidation tactics,[2] resulting in a landslide victory and a subsequent two-thirds majority. This was the last multi-party election in Italy until 1946.

Electoral system

In November 1923, the Parliament approved the Acerbo Law, which stated that the party gaining the largest share of the votes--provided they had gained at least 25 percent of the votes--gained two-thirds of the seats in parliament. The remaining third was shared amongst the other parties proportionally.[3]

Historical background

On 22 October 1922, the young leader of the National Fascist Party Benito Mussolini attempted a coup d'état which was titled by the Fascist propaganda the March on Rome in which took part almost 30,000 Fascists. The quadrumvirs leading the Fascist Party, General Emilio De Bono, Italo Balbo (one of the most famous ras), Michele Bianchi and Cesare Maria de Vecchi, organized the March while the Duce stayed behind for most of the march, though he allowed pictures to be taken of him marching along with the Fascist marchers. Generals Gustavo Fara and Sante Ceccherini assisted to the preparations of the March of 18 October. Other organizers of the march included the Marquis Dino Perrone Compagni and Ulisse Igliori.

On 24 October, Mussolini declared before 60,000 people at the Fascist Congress in Naples: "Our program is simple: we want to rule Italy".[4]Blackshirts occupied some strategic points of the country and began to move on the capital. On 26 October, former Prime Minister Antonio Salandra warned current Prime Minister Luigi Facta that Mussolini was demanding his resignation and that he was preparing to march on Rome. However, Facta did not believe Salandra and thought that Mussolini would govern quietly at his side. To meet the threat posed by the bands of Fascist troops now gathering outside Rome, Facta (who had resigned, but continued to hold power) ordered a state of siege for Rome. Having had previous conversations with the King about the repression of Fascist violence, he was sure the King would agree.[5] However, King Victor Emmanuel III refused to sign the military order.[6] On 28 October, the King handed power to Mussolini, who was supported by the military, the business class and the right-wing.

Benito Mussolini and Fascist Blackshirts during the March on Rome in October 1922

The march itself was composed of fewer than 30,000 men, but the King feared a civil war as he did not consider strong enough previous government while Fascism was no longer seen as a threat to the establishment. Mussolini was asked to form his cabinet on 29 October while some 25,000 Blackshirts were parading in Rome. Mussolini thus legally reached power in accordance with the Statuto Albertino, the Italian constitution. The March on Rome was not the conquest of power which Fascism later celebrated, but rather the precipitating force behind a transfer of power within the framework of the constitution. This transition was made possible by the surrender of public authorities in the face of Fascist intimidation. Many business and financial leaders believed it would be possible to manipulate Mussolini, whose early speeches and policies emphasized free market and laissez-faire economics.[7]

This proved overly optimistic as Mussolini's corporatist view stressed total state power over businesses as much as over individuals via governing industry bodies ("corporations") controlled by the Fascist Party, a model in which businesses retained the responsibilities of property, but few if any of the freedoms. Even though the coup failed in giving power directly to the Fascist Party, it nonetheless resulted in a parallel agreement between Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel III that made Mussolini the head of the Italian government. A few weeks after the election, the leader of the Unitary Socialist Party Giacomo Matteotti requested, during his speech in front of the Parliament that the elections be annulled because of the irregularities.[8] On June 10, Matteotti was assassinated by Fascist Blackshirts and his murder provoked a momentary crisis in the Mussolini government.

Postcard promoted by the Fascist propaganda

Mussolini ordered a cover-up, but witnesses saw the car that transported Matteotti's body parked outside Matteotti's residence, which linked Amerigo Dumini (a Fascist prominent in Mussolini's personal escort) to the murder. Mussolini later confessed that a few resolute men could have altered public opinion and started a coup that would have swept Fascism away. Dumini was imprisoned for two years. On his release, Dumini allegedly told other people that Mussolini was responsible, for which he served further prison time.

The opposition parties responded weakly or were generally unresponsive. Many of the socialists, liberals and moderates boycotted Parliament in the Aventine Secession, hoping to force King Victor Emmanuel III to dismiss Mussolini.

On 31 December 1924, Blackshirt leaders met with Mussolini and gave him an ultimatum--crush the opposition or they would do so without him. Fearing a revolt by his own militants, he decided to drop all trappings of democracy.[9]

On 3 January 1925, Mussolini made a truculent speech before the Chamber of Deputies in which he took responsibility for squadristi violence (though he did not mention the assassination of Matteotti).[10] This speech usually is taken as the beginning of the Fascist dictatorship because it was followed by several laws restricting or canceling common democratic liberties, voted by the Parliament filled by two thirds of Fascists because of the Acerbo Law.

Parties and leaders



Ballot paper used in the election
Italian Parliament, 1924.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/-
National List 4,305,936 60.09 355 +250
Italian People's Party 645,789 9.01 39 -69
Unitary Socialist Party 422,957 5.90 24 New
Italian Socialist Party 360,694 5.03 22 -101
National List bis 347,552 4.85 19 New
Communist Party of Italy 268,191 3.74 19 +4
Italian Liberal Party 233,521 3.27 15 -28
Democratic Liberal Party 157,932 2.20 14 -54
Italian Republican Party 133,714 1.87 7 +1
Italian Social Democratic Party 111,035 1.55 10 -19
Peasants' Party of Italy 73,569 1.03 4 New
Lists of Slavs and Germans 62,491 0.87 4 -5
Sardinian Action Party 24,059 0.34 2 New
Dissident Fascists 18,062 0.25 1 New
Invalid/blank votes 448,949 - - -
Total 7,614,451 100 535 ±0
Registered voters/turnout 11,939,452 63.8 - -
Popular vote
Parliamentary seats

Results by region


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1047 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ a b Nohlen & Stöver, p1033
  3. ^ Boffa, Federico (2004-02-01). "Italy and the Antitrust Law: an Efficient Delay?" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-05. Retrieved . Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Carsten (1982), p.62
  5. ^ Chiapello (2012), p.123
  6. ^ Carsten (1982), p.64
  7. ^ Carsten (1982), p.76
  8. ^ Speech of 30 May 1924
  9. ^ Paxton, Robert (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 1-4000-4094-9.
  10. ^ Mussolini, Benito. "discorso sul delitto Matteotti". wikisource.it. Retrieved 2013.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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