Daily Management Review

Yet another serious political risk for Europe: Italian elections coming soon


The campaign for parliamentary elections is gaining momentum In Italy. Today, the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the country should publish lists of candidates for getting into the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The main battle in the March 4 elections will unfold between the left centrist, the right-wing center and the populist Five Star Movement. At the same time, there is no obvious favorite.

The struggle for seats in parliament will unfold between three blocs: the left center, the right center and the populist Five Star Movement, which other politicians proclaimed as their main opponent and "threat to the future of Italy". Nevertheless, neither the campaign to discredit this movement, nor a series of scandals around two prominent "five-stars" - the mayors of Rome and Turin - did not turn the electorate away from the populists, as people are dissatisfied with the traditional parties. The Five Star Movement remains the most popular political force in the country. According to preliminary polls, 27.9% of those who are already sure in their choice are ready to vote for them.

However, this is not enough for the victory in the parliamentary elections. In the last autumn, Italy adopted a new electoral law, giving preference to the election coalitions. The Five Star Movement, which did not want to spoil their image with cooperation with traditional parties, refused to join. Meanwhile, the weakening Democratic Party, headed by former Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi, considered it good to unite with a number of small allies for the benefit. Thanks to this, the center-left bloc gathers 27% of the votes of the determined voters.

The tactic of Silvio Berlusconi, who rebelled from political non-existence, was even more successful. He combined his Forza Italia (16.4%) with Matteo Salvini’s Northern League (13%), the Brothers of Italy of Giorgia Meloni (4.7%) and a number of other political forces (2.4%), and put together a right-of-center coalition, for which 36.4% of those who have decided on the choice of Italians agree to vote today.

In the meantime, the analysis of the proposed distribution of parliamentary seats based on the new law (one-third of the parliament is now elected in single-mandate constituencies and the rest by party lists) demonstrates one clear thing. None of the three electoral entities receives 316 seats in the Chamber of Deputies required to form a cabinet ministers. According to the independent agency IXE, the left center can claim 137 seats, the Five Star Movement - 161, and the right center - 299 seats.

Experts are also skeptical about the probability of forming a viable cabinet even if the right bloc continues to gain points and will be able to secure a parliamentary majority in both houses. Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini have inconsistent positions - primarily on issues of European politics, which is the defining one for Italy. Therefore, after March 4, the country may be expected to reform the electoral blocs and conclude new alliances. The most viable of these could be a broad coalition of two blocs - left and right - with a kind of duumvirate Matteo Renzi and Silvio Berlusconi.

Sociologists note that much depends on those who intend to stay at home on the voting day, and those who have not yet decided on their preferences – there is about of 40% of them now. Each block is spreading generous, and according to economists, unrealistic promises of tax breaks and social support to get representatives of this category on their side. The lack of intelligible explanations of how these promises will be fulfilled in conditions when the Italian budget is tightly controlled by the EU has given grounds for the publication of Il Fatto Quotidiano to call all three blocs populist.

source: reuters.com