Politics of Sicily

Democratic Party (Italy) Nello Musumeci Sicilian Regional Assembly
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politics and government of

The Politics of Sicily, Italy takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Sicilian Regional Assembly.


The oldest organised party of Sicily was the Sicilian Socialist Party, founded out from the Fasci Siciliani in 1893, but the region was primarily a stronghold of the liberal establishment (see Historical Right, Historical Left and Liberals) that governed Italy for decades. However, by the end of the 19th century, Sicily elected several deputies from left-wing parties, namely the Radical Party, the Italian Republican Party, the Italian Socialist Party and the Italian Reformist Socialist Party.[1]

After Italian Fascism (whose partisan arm, the National Fascist Party was well supported in the region) and the Allied invasion of Sicily during the World War II, Sicily increasingly became a stronghold of Christian Democracy, in opposition to the Italian Communist Party. Sicilians had also a penchant for conservative/nationalist politics, represented mainly by the Monarchist National Party and the Italian Social Movement.

After the dissolution of these parties, in the early 1990s, the region was long governed by a "center-right coalition", notably including the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, whose regional leader, Salvatore Cuffaro, served as President of Sicily from 2001 to 2008, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and the post-fascist National Alliance. Cuffaro's Christian Democrats have since been the main party of government in Sicily as they had been part both of the administrations of Raffaele Lombardo of the Movement for the Autonomies (2008–2012) and that of Rosario Crocetta of the Democratic Party (since 2012).

Legislative branch

The Sicilian Regional Assembly is composed of 90 members (or deputies). 80 deputies are elected in provincial constituencies by proportional representation using the largest remainder method with a Droop quota and open lists, while 10 councillors (elected in a general ticket) come from a "regional list", including the President-elect. One seat is reserved for the candidate who comes second.

The Assembly is elected for a five-year term, but, if the President suffers a vote of no confidence, resigns or dies, under the simul stabunt, simul cadent clause introduced in 2001 (literally they will stand together or they will fall together), also the Assembly is dissolved and a snap election is called.

Executive branch

The Regional Cabinet (Giunta Regionale) is presided by the President of the Region (Presidente della Regione), who is elected for a five-year term, and is currently composed by 11 members: the President and 10 regional assessors (Assessori, literally "aldermen"), including a Vice President (Vice Presidente).

Originally appointed by the Sicilian Regional Assembly, since 2001 de jure, he is elected by popular vote every five years under universal suffrage: the candidate who receives a plurality of votes, is elected.

His office is connected to the Regional Assembly (ARS), which is elected contextually: one fifth of the assembly seats are generally reserved to his supporters, which are wholesale elected concurrently with the President. The Assembly and the President are linked by an alleged relationship of confidence: if the President resigns or he is dismissed by the Assembly, a snap election is called for both the legislative and the executive offices, because in no case the two bodies can be chosen separately. The popular election of the President and the relationship of confidence between him and the legislature, allow to identify the Sicilian model of government as a particular form of semi-presidential system.

The President of Sicily promulgates regional laws and regulations. He can receive special administrative functions by the national government. The President is one of the 90 members of the Regional Assembly and, in this capacity, he can propose new laws. He appoints and dismiss the Regional Cabinet (called Giunta Regionale in Italian). The Cabinet is composed by regional assessors (assessori, literally "aldermen"[2]) who can be members of the Council at the same time. Assessors should not be confused with the ministers: according to Italian administrative law, assessors only receive delegations from the President to rule a bureau or an agency, the Region being a single legal person, not divided in ministries. One assessor can be appointed vice president. The President can also appoint four under-secretaries (sottosegretari) to help the President in his functions.

The Regional Cabinet prepares the budget, appoints the boards of public regional agencies and companies, manages assets, develops projects of governance, and resorts to the Constitutional Court of Italy if it thinks that a national law may violate regional powers. The President and the Cabinet are two different authorities of the Region: in matters within its competence, the Cabinet has the power to vote to give its approval.

List of Presidents

The current President of Sicily is Nello Musumeci, who is serving for his first term after winning the 2017 regional election.

Local government


Sicily was divided in nine provinces, which were a traditional form of local administration in the region. Socialist and Christian-democratic ideas had an early diffusion in quite all the provinces around World War I. After the Fascist parenthesis, left-wing parties found their strongholds in central agricultural provinces, especially in the Province of Enna, but they didn't succeeded in local elections, while Christian Democracy obtained high scores in others parts of the Region.

On 19 March 2013 the Sicilian Regional Assembly decided to turn them into Free Associations of Municipalities (Liberi consorzi tra comuni). Finally, on 30 July 2015 the Regional Assembly approved a law which put into force the Free Associations of Municipalities, regulating their functions and abolishing definitively the nine historical provinces. The same law created the new Metropolitan Cities of Palermo, Messina and Catania.[3]

Province Inhabitants established current status[4]
Palermo 1,250,296 1860 Metropolitan City
Catania 1,167,006 1860 Metropolitan City
Messina 651,921 1860 Metropolitan City
Agrigento 453,416 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Trapani 436,459 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Syracuse 404,271 1860 Free Association of Municipalities
Ragusa 320,003 1927 Free Association of Municipalities
Caltanissetta 270,102 1927 Free Association of Municipalities
Enna 171,921 1927 Free Association of Municipalities


Sicily is also divided in 390 comuni (municipalities), which have even more history, having been established in the Middle Ages when they were the main places of government.

Provincial capitals

Municipality Inhabitants Mayor Party Election
Agrigento 58,323 Lillo Firetto Union of the Centre 2015
Caltanissetta 61,711 Roberto Gambino Five Star Movement 2019
Catania 293,902 Salvo Pogliese Forza Italia 2018
Enna 27,894 Maurizio Dipietro Democratic Party 2015
Messina 243,262 Cateno De Luca Independent (centre) 2018
Palermo 657,651 Leoluca Orlando Democratic Party 2017
Ragusa 73,543 Giuseppe Cassì Independent (right-wing) 2018
Syracuse 118,385 Francesco Italia Independent (centre-left) 2018
Trapani 69,241 Giacomo Tranchida Democratic Party 2018

Other municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants

Municipality Inhabitants Mayor Party Election
Marsala 80,218 Alberto Di Girolamo Democratic Party 2015
Gela 75,668 Domenico Messinese[5] Five Star Movement 2015
Vittoria 63,002 Giovanni Moscato[6] Independent (centre-right) 2016
Modica 54,324 Ignazio Abbate Union of the Centre 2018
Bagheria 54,257 Patrizio Cinque Five Star Movement 2014
Acireale 51,456 Stefano Alì Five Star Movement 2018

Parties and elections

Latest regional election

The latest regional election, for the renewal of the Regional Assembly and the election of the President of Sicily, was held on 5 November 2017. Nello Musumeci (Diventerà Bellissima), won the election.

2017 Sicilian regional election

← 2012 5 November 2017

All 70 seats to the Sicilian Regional Assembly
36 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Musumeci - primo piano crop.jpg Giancarlo Cancelleri.jpg Fabrizio Micari crop.jpg
Leader Nello Musumeci Giancarlo Cancelleri Fabrizio Micari
Party Diventerà Bellissima Five Star Movement Democratic Party
Alliance Centre-right coalition Centre-left coalition
Seats won 36 20 13
Seat change Increase 1 Increase 5 Decrease 26
Popular vote 830,821 722,555 388,886
Percentage 39.85% 34.65% 18.65%
Swing Decrease 1.29%[8] Increase 16.48% Decrease 11.82%

Sicilian regional election 2017 map.png

President before election

Rosario Crocetta

Elected President

Nello Musumeci

The Sicilian regional election of 2017 for the renewal of the Sicilian Regional Assembly and the election of the President of Sicily was held on 5 November 2017. Incumbent President Rosario Crocetta was not his party's candidate due to his low popularity.[9] Nello Musumeci, leader of the moviment Diventerà Bellissima, was elected president.

Electoral system

The Sicilian Parliament is elected with a mixed system: 62 MPs are chosen with a form of proportional representation using a largest remainder method with open lists and a 5% threshold, while 8 MPs (7+1) are elected with a block voting system with closed lists.

 AG   CL   CT   EN   ME   PA   RG   SR   TP  Total
6 3 13 2 8 16 4 5 5 62

Parties and leaders

Political party or alliance Constituent lists Previous result Candidate
Votes (%) Seats
Centre-right coalition Forza Italia (FI) (incl. SC and PLI) 18.9[a] 17[b]
Nello Musumeci
Populars and Autonomists 15.4[c] 14[d]
Union of the Centre (UdC) 10.8 11
Diventerà Bellissima (DB) (incl. EpI) N/A N/A
Nello Musumeci for President (incl. Alliance for Sicily, FdI and NcS) N/A N/A
Five Star Movement 14.9 15
Giancarlo Cancelleri
Centre-left coalition Democratic Party (PD) 13.4 14
Fabrizio Micari
Future SicilyItalian Socialist Party (SF–PSI) N/A N/A
Popular AlternativeCentrists for Micari (AP–CpM) N/A N/A
Micari for President (inc. The Megaphone) N/A N/A
One Hundred Steps for Sicily (incl. MDP, SI, PRC, FdV, Pos and PSS) 3.1
Claudio Fava[10]
Free Sicilians (SL) N/A N/A
Roberto La Rosa[11]
  1. ^ 12.9 (PdL) + 6.0 (GS)
  2. ^ 12 (PdL) + 5 (GS)
  3. ^ 5.9 (CP) + 9.5 (PdS)
  4. ^ 4 (CP) + 10 (PdS)

Opinion polling

Date Polling firm Micari Musumeci Cancelleri Fava Others Lead
20 Oct 2017 Piepoli 25.0 42.0 25.0 8.0 0.0 17.0
20 Oct 2017 Demos&Pi 15.7 35.5 33.2 13.8 1.8 2.3
20 Oct 2017 Demopolis 21.0 36.0 35.0 7.0 1.0 1.0
19 Oct 2017 Tecnè 16.0 42.0 33.0 9.0 0.0 9.0
18 Oct 2017 Keix 24.2 33.0 33.2 7.6 1.6 0.2
12 Ott 2017 Demopolis 22.0 35.0 33.0 9.0 1.0 2.0
11 Oct 2017 Piepoli 16.0 42.0 33.0 9.0 1.0 9.0
5 Oct 2017 Index research 20.0 37.0 30.0 10.0 3.0 7.0
4 Oct 2017 Demopolis 22.5 34.5 32.0 9.0 2.0 2.5
3 Oct 2017 Tecnè 15.0 37.0 31.0 11.0 6.0 6.0
24 Sep 2017 Ipsos 13.0 38.0 31.0 10.0 8.0 7.0
21 Sep 2017 Index Research 15.0 36.0 30.0 16.0 3.0 6.0
5 Sep 2017 Demopolis 22.0 34.0 35.0 6.0 3.0 1.0
29–30 Aug 2017 Euromedia 16.0 36.1 33.0 9.5 7.5 3.1
26–28 Aug 2017 Lorien 21.3 40.5 38.2 N/A 0.0 2.3



5 November 2017 Sicilian regional election results
Assemblea Regionale Siciliana 2017.svg
Candidates Votes % Seats Parties Votes % Seats
Nello Musumeci 830,821 39.85 7
Forza Italia 315,056 16.37 12
Populars and Autonomists 136,520 7.09 5
Union of the Centre 134,124 6.97 5
Diventerà Bellissima 114,708 5.96 4
Brothers of ItalyUs with Salvini 108,713 5.65 3
Total 809,121 42.04 29
Giancarlo Cancelleri 722,555 34.65 1 Five Star Movement 513,359 26.67 19
Fabrizio Micari 388,886 18.65
Democratic Party 250,633 13.02 11
Future SicilyItalian Socialist Party 115,751 6.01 2
Popular AlternativeCentrists for Micari 80,366 4.18
Micari for President 42,189 2.19
Total 488,939 25.41 13
Claudio Fava 128,157 6.15 One Hundred Steps for Sicily 100,583 5.23 1
Roberto La Rosa 14,656 0.70 Free Sicilians 12,600 0.66
Total candidates 2,085,075 100.00 8 Total parties 1,924,602 100.00 62
Source: Sicilian Region
Popular vote
La Rosa


  1. ^ Piergiorgio Corbetta; Maria Serena Piretti, Atlante storico-elettorale d'Italia, Zanichelli, Bologna 2009
  2. ^ According to Google Translate
  3. ^ "La Sicilia approva la riforma delle province". www.ansa.it (in Italian). ansa. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  4. ^ After 2015 reform.
  5. ^ Removed from office on 7 September 2018.
  6. ^ Removed from office on 31 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Riepilogo Risultati Elezioni Sicilia - Regionali - 5 novembre 2017 - Repubblica.it". Repubblica.it. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  8. ^ The swing comes from the combined result of the Centre-right coalition (25.73%) and New Pole for Italy (15.41%) in the 2012 regional election.
  9. ^ Regionali, Crocetta: "Sono io il candidato legittimo del Pd"
  10. ^ Fava candidato unico della sinistra: in Sicilia Navarra si defila.
  11. ^ Siciliani liberi, parte la campagna elettorale a sostegno di La Rosa.