Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 08 maggio 2012 alle ore 05:58.
L'ultima modifica è del 08 maggio 2012 alle ore 04:44.
The recent administrative elections showed two things: the center-right coalition is not doing well and people want something new. Nothing new under the sun. The 2008 results, which favored People of Liberty party (PDL) by 37.4 percent are a distant memory.
While we don’t have the final results at this point, it’s clear that the PDL collapsed. Until today, the decline has been clear but somehow gradual. Today that’s no longer true. The defeat is evident, and it wasn’t caused by the fact that a lot of parties were running in the election.
The Northern League didn’t do very well either. The success of Flavio Tosi in Verona is an exception. Elsewhere, the League lost big. For example, in Monza, not far from Milan, the League’s candidate went from 20.4 percent in the 2010 regional election to yesterday’s 7.5 percent. In Belluno the percentage went from 22.3 to 4.6. Right-wing parties run in the election separately, not as a coalition, a choice that they paid for in terms of results.
The third coalition, led by Pier Ferdinando Casini, the leader of the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC), didn’t intercept in the North the votes of those fed with the right-wing coalition. Casini was partially successful only in the South.
The left-wing coalition was the winner, mainly because its parties decided to run together. The Left Ecology Freedom Party and the Democratic Party (PD) ran together in 23 cities out of 26. In 16 cities, the Italy of Values party (IDV) was also part of the coalition. The PD never ran alone.
Today’s situation is very similar to what happened in the final days of Italy’s First Republic, with the difference that the PDL replaced the Democratic Christian party. Center-right voters are frustrated with the existing parties and opt either for not voting or for nontraditional movements, such as comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement. Between 1992 and 1994 the Northern League’s Umberto Bossi and Silvio Berlusconi took advantage of people’s desire to renew politics. Grillo’s party doubled the votes of the last regional elections and is the realty novelty. While polls predicted his success, yesterday’s results are surprising. Grillo’s is the only party that increased its votes in absolute and percentage terms, probably gaining popularity among left- and right-wing voters. These results cannot be dismissed as a symptom of populism, an accusation I see as an easy alibi. Instead, they are dictated by a rejection of how our politics are managed and a call for radical changes.
The other reason right-wing parties lost votes is that people didn’t go to the polls. Only 63.5 percent of voters participated in the election, a 8.2 percentage decrease compared to last the administrative elections. Last year 68.3 percent of people voted, compared to 70.5 percent in 2006. That was a normal decrease, while this year’s numbers indicate an important shift.
The data are homogeneous all across the 10 and 12 cities, in the North and the South, respectively. An interesting fact is the 11 percentage point decrease in voter participation in the four cities that are usually controlled by left-wing coalitions. Abstentioni was a key factor in the last elections, and it will be in next year’s political elections too. So far, this is what the situation looks like. In two weeks, after the second-round elections, things will be more clear. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see what the PDL, the Northern League and the UDC will decide to do, which will be a good predictor of where Italian politics is headed too.
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