A system that favors the right against a fragmented left in Italy | International
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Meloni, Salvini and Berlusconi will win the next elections in Italy. This is the most likely result of the vote that will take place on September 25. The polls and the deep divisions in the center-left camp say so. These are the reasons why Salvini and, surprisingly, Berlusconi have decided to end the Draghi government. The prime minister’s resignation has handed them the chance to vote at a very favorable time for them on a silver platter. Or, at least, that is what they think and, as we know, expectations, in politics as well as in economics, dictate behavior.
The forecast of a probable victory for the right (after the opportunist election of Berlusconi, it is no longer possible to speak of the center-right) depends not only on the votes that the polls attribute to the parties that comprise it, but also on the functioning of the current electoral system . It is a mixed system that applies both to the Chamber [de Diputados] like the Senate. Two-thirds of the seats are allocated proportionally, while one-third are elected in single-member constituencies under plurality rule. A complicated system of electoral barriers is foreseen, mainly that of 3%, applied at the national level both in the Chamber and in the Senate.
Right now this system favors the right. According to the average of last week’s polls, La Liga, Forza Italia and Hermanos de Italia can count on around 45% of the voting intention. On paper, all the center-left parties and factions obtain more or less the same percentage, but it is a very fragmented and very heterogeneous coalition. Specifically, after the position adopted by the 5-Star Movement against Draghi, the Democratic Party has already declared that it is not willing to ally itself with the Cricket Movement, and it is also not clear who the Democratic Party’s allies will be. The possible alliance will probably include the parties of Speranza, Calenda, Renzi and Di Maio. But all these lists, plus the Democratic Party, currently add up to around 35% of the vote. This means that there is no play between the two poles. With this advantage, the right has the opportunity to win even in 90% of the single-member constituencies, and therefore, the absolute majority of seats in both the House and the Senate.
This is how things are now. Can you change between now and September 25? It’s possible. The change depends on a series of factors that are difficult to assess at this time. For example, it is not known to what extent the government’s crisis will weigh on the opinion of voters. This factor could harm La Liga and especially Forza Italia. The Draghi factor could also weigh. The prime minister remains a very popular figure and the Democratic Party is perceived as the party that most faithfully supported his government. Abstention will also have its role. In general, low turnout tends to favor the center-left. Not to mention a worsening of the economic and social crisis and the pandemic in early autumn.
In short, there are many factors at play that can change expectations. Italian politics has been going through a phase of great fluidity for years. A shift of four or five percentage points between the two poles is not a mirage and, if it happens, could change things. But for this to happen, the center-left will have to run a perfect election campaign. You will have to guess tones, themes, alliances and candidates. It is an uphill race, but it is not lost in advance. We have already seen electoral campaigns in which a formation had a clear advantage at the beginning and has ended up in the arrival photo. This could be one of them. But it is a risky bet.
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