Italy in surprise electoral deadlock

Photo credit: Lucaxino

Photo credit: Lucaxino

The elections for the replacement of the Italian Parliament have left the country in turmoil, as no clear winner was secured.

The country has two parliamentary chambers – the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. They have equal power but different electoral systems, modified by the ‘Porcellum Law’ made by the minister Calderoli in 2005, who himself defined the law as ‘junk’. According to this new electoral system, the Chamber of Deputies is elected on a national basis, while the Senate is elected on a regional basis.

After Berlusconi’s resignation in November 2011, Italy’s political and economical situation needed an immediate intervention. In order to rebalance the Italian economic system, damaged by a deep crisis, Giorgio Napolitano, the President of the Republic promoted Mario Monti the economist, popular within the European Union, to prime minister of a technocratic government. He conducted an austere politic of taxation which helped the country to reduce the crisis but, at the same time, drew great discontent from the population.

When the right wing party, led by Berlusconi, revoked confidence in Monti, the President was forced to announce new elections.
The result of the lower house was incredibly close. Bersani, of the centre left, obtained 340 deputies with 29.5 per cent of votes, immediately followed by Berlusconi, centre-right, with 29.1 per cent. The Five Star Movement (M5S) came third with 25.5 per cent, followed by Civic Choice with 10.6 per cent.

The result for the Senate was equally marginal. Bersani won with 31.6 per cent, followed by Berlusconi with 30.7 per cent. Five Star Movement achieved 23.8 per cent, with Monti’s Civic Choice with only received 9.1 per cent. The distribution  of seats in the Senate shows: an insignificant difference between 120 for the left and 117 for the right, 58 for M5S and 16 for Monti.

These elections have been very surprising. Anticipations were all certain about the clear victory for the left. However, these predictions have been proved wrong by the popularity of the right and, above all, by the ascent of a new political figure in the form of Beppe Grillo, a comedian. He is the symbol of protest for many, considered as an alternative to the fossilized dichotomy between left and right; but he is also worrisome for many others who do not trust his ‘comic sense’. He seems too extreme, too ‘new’ and, at the same time, too similar to ‘the old populist clown Berlusconi’.

Expectations and subsequent disappointment aside, Italy is ungovernable, because there is not a defined majority in the Senate. Italy’s indecision means that the country will have to vote again.

One comment

  1. Sorry, what clear predictions for a victory for the left? It was considered more likely than a victory for the right, yes, but it was hardly a cert of any description. The deadlock was always a highly likely result.

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