Italian Election Predictions
Ok, here are my numbers, as the polls close:
These numbers assume the following:
- That about 75% of people vote in the historically ‘red’ regioni (Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Umbria, Marche).
- That about 70% vote in the rest of the Northern and Central regioni.
- That about 60% vote in the South, Sardegna and Sicily.
Mind you, these numbers, according to forecasters, are optimistic. IXE, for example, predicts a national average of just over 53%.
I also expect that the Movimento 5 Stelle will have continued its upward trend since the last national polling data became available on 9 September. They will mostly take votes from the Partito Democratico.
I expect that Meloni’s share of the vote will not meet with the expectations of the pollsters, in part because of the pressure being applied at the level of the EU, and partly because of the fear that the far right might unilaterally change Italy’s Constitution. I expect most of the difference to benefit Salvini, though.
A major force driving the left-center vote will be, in my opinion, the war in Ukraine, which is very unpopular in Italy. M5S is for ending all military aid to Ukraine and for Italy to play a more active role in bringing the warring parties to the negotiating table. Letta and the Partito Democratico, on the other hand, are in favor of continued arms sales.
Meloni’s FdI is publicly in favor of both continuing arms shipments to Ukraine and supporting a Ukrainian military victory. That is the public posture. Privately, I think that there is more scepticism, to go right along with the far right’s scepticism towards the EU.
We will see a right-wing government in Italy, not because the Right is all-powerful, but because the rest of the political spectrum is divided. The electoral mechanism itself will inflate the rightwing majority. Italy’s is not, officially, a ‘majority prize’ system that gives the winning coalition an automatic bump-up in Parliamentary seats. It does, however, have a split between seats assigned via proportional representation (5/8 total) and seats assigned via a ‘winner-take-all’ system (3/8). The winner-take-all seats inflate the strength of whichever party/electoral coalition is relatively stronger in a given circoscrizione. Fratelli d’Italia will likely win a large portion of these seats even where the difference between itself and M5S or PD is minimal.
One party which is almost certain to come out of these elections a victor is the Movimento 5 Stelle, which everybody and his uncle expected to get hammered because they ‘broke up the anti-fascist coalition’ (Enrico Letta’ favorite expression in these last few weeks). M5S will, of course, benefit from the marked differences between itself and the PD where the Ukraine war is concerned.
More in general, however, the M5S is gaining against the PD for another reason. Conte and his party let Draghi’s government fall because, in his opinion, Draghi’s policies, while penning in the far right, did nothing to weaken the far right’s electoral base. According to M5S, the government, with its empasis on private enterprise, its refusal to address climate change and its disinterest in fighting poverty, was actually making matters worse. M5S decided to break things up ‘while there was still a chance to address these issues, before the far-right’s electoral advantage became overwhelming.’
The Partito Democratico, which has been Draghi’s biggest sponsor, labeled the M5S analysis ‘reckless,’ to the point that they not only refused a national electoral alliance with M5S, but systematically wrecked all the local alliances as well, most notably in Sicily.
So in some way, it may be said that the results of this election will have a double outcome. The first, the one nobody doubts, is that the far-right will finally get to govern ‘openly,’ for the first time since the MSI propped up the Christian Democrat governments of the 1950s.
The second, and in some ways more significant outcome will be the plebiscite on how Italy’s Center-Left addresses the challenges it will face in the immediate future.
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