Italian General election update

Italian General Election: Update


As residents vote in the Italian general election, feelings are mixed in Italy. Some people feel the choices they have are not inspiring, nor do they believe they will herald positive change. Others are looking forward to change.

Italians are voting in a national election that could bring the most right-wing government to power in Italy since World War II.

The snap election was called in July after infighting in Mario Draghi’s unity government brought its collapse. Draghi resigned (twice), which meant an election had to be held within 70 days.

Against the backdrop of the energy crisis, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, questions over Italy’s stance towards the EU, and general voter disillusionment, it seems the far-right could come to power.

“I hope something will change for the better, but I am not very confident,” retiree Marinella Faccioli, 75, told Al Jazeera after casting her ballot at a polling station in central Rome.

Andrea Cocitanti, 25, agreed with the assessment. “We need a change but whatever you choose you get it wrong – the ruling class is the issue. We have to vote, it’s a must, but I wouldn’t vote for any of those I voted for if I had a better choice”.

Turnout at midday

As a result, it is highly likely the final look of the new government will not be confirmed before mid-November.

The YouTrend survey at midday shows the turnout is 19.21% compared to 19.43% at the same time in 2018. The three regions with the greatest increase compared to 2018 are Lombardy, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.

The three with the greatest decrease are Molise, Campania and Sardinia. At the moment the partial turnout at midday is definitely higher in the municipalities with more resident foreigners (21%) than in those with fewer resident foreigners (15%), as well as in those with fewer unemployed people (22%) than in those with more unemployed (15%).

When will we know the results of the Italian general election?

Official results are expected on Monday, as the polls close at 11pm CET. However, a government will not be installed straightaway. It will probably be mid-October by the time the newly elected legislators vote for the presidents of the two chambers. They will then, along with party leaders, start consultations with President Sergio Mattarella.

Mattarella will then confirm the Prime Minister, who in turn will present a list of ministers to be confirmed by the President, then approved via a confidence vote.

Who is tipped to win?

In the last surveys before an embargo, Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (Fdl) was believed to have 25% of the voters’ backing, with the left’s Democratic Party (PD) led by Enrico Letta following with 22%.

However, Letta failed to create a viable coalition, whilst Meloni has gone into ‘partnership’ with Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI). With the League’s projected 13% and FI’s 7%, that would give the coalition an unassailable lead of 45%.

How strong is the centre-right coalition?

That said, cracks are beginning to show already in the centre-right coalition.

 On the fiscal front, Meloni has stuck to Draghi’s line – refusing to increase Italy’s record-high debt while insisting on capping the price of gas and decoupling it from energy costs. Salvini on the hand is pushing for €30 billion to help struggling businesses and families.

The question of Russia is also a sticking point it would seem. Meloni has supported sanctions against Moscow, while Salvini insisted they should be reconsidered. Berlusconi is a longtime friend to President Vladimir Putin. On Thursday night he suggested the Russian leader only wanted to replace Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with a government “made up of decent people”. For this, he came under fire from several quarters. Meloni, meanwhile, has repeatedly pledged her commitment and her support for Ukraine.

The EU is another question over which there could be issues. Meloni has often portrayed the EU as an enemy of Italy’s national interests. However, she has softened her tone recently, recognising the need for EU funds to shore up the country’s economy.

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