Mr. Richmond to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Rome, November 4, 1882. (Received November 20.)
Sir: I have the honor to report that the result of the general elections for members of the House of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, which took place on Sunday, the 29th October last, is most favorable to the present (Liberal) Government. No official statistics are as yet obtainable, but the following figures, taken from well-informed sources, may be considered as trustworthy as to the present composition of the House: Right center (Conservative), 100; 67; Left (Liberal), 255; Extreme left, 28; Socialists, 2. Total elected, 452. The deputies of the Center vote with the Government, as also about one-third of those of the Extreme left. [Page 597]This gives the Government a strength of about 332 votes out of 452, the present number of deputies elected. The full House, however, has 508 members, and the 56 wanting to complete the roll will be voted for on Sunday, the 5th instant. These vacancies are caused in some instances by a failure of candidates to obtain the requisite number of votes, and in other cases by different members of the ministry being elected by several constituencies, though they can represent but one; it is believed, however, that when these vacancies are filled, while there will be no material change in the completion of the House, the Government will receive still farther accessions.
The electoral law of 1882 by its liberal provisions practically established free suffrage for all the male subjects of the King of Italy who can read and write, and have attained the age of twenty-one years, thus consequently largely increasing the number of electors.
|Number of voters inscribed in electoral list, 1881||626,371|
|Number of voters inscribed in electoral list, 1882||1,507,325|
|An increase by the new electoral law of||880,954|
This large addition to the number of inscribed voters was not however followed by a corresponding increase in the number of ballots cast on the 29th ultimo; the vote, on the contrary, was very light. The official numbers are not yet known, but I am informed from ministerial sources that it is roughly estimated that only about 800,000 voters went to the polls. This unexpected abstinence may be partly attributed to the disastrous floods which have devastated broad districts of Northern Italy and prevented thousands from exercising their rights as electors, in a greater degree perhaps to the tempestuous storm of wind and rain which raged over the country on the day of election, and finally to there being no question involved in the issue calculated to arouse party spirit and call out a stronger expression of opinion.
The voting in Rome and throughout the Kingdom, with the single exception of Leghorn, where there were some slight disturbances, passed off in the most perfect quiet.
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I am, &c.,
Chargé d Affaires ad interim.