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A system that favors the right over a fragmented left in Italy

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Meloni, Salvini and Berlusconi will win the next elections in Italy. This is the most likely outcome of the vote that will take place on September 25th. So say the polls and the deep divisions in the centre-left. For these reasons, Salvini and, surprisingly, Berlusconi decided to end the Draghi government. The Prime Minister’s resignation has given them a chance to vote for them on a silver platter at a very opportune time. Or at least they think so, and as we know, in both politics and business, expectations dictate behavior.

The prognosis of a likely victory for the right (after the opportunistic election of Berlusconi one can no longer speak of the centre-right) depends not only on the votes allotted in the polls to the parties that make it up, but also to those who vote the votes that make it up 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, one-third are elected in single-member constituencies with majority voting. A complicated system of voting barriers is envisaged, mainly that of 3%, applied nationally in both the House and the Senate.

At the moment, this system favors the right. According to the average of last week’s polls, La Liga, Forza Italia and Hermanos de Italia can expect around 45% of voting intentions. On paper, all centre-left parties and factions get more or less the same percentage, but it’s a very fragmented and very heterogeneous coalition. In particular, following the 5 Star Movement’s position against Draghi, the Democratic Party has already stated that it is not ready to ally itself with the cricket movement, nor is it clear who the Democratic Party’s allies will be. The possible alliance will likely include the parties of Speranza, Calenda, Renzi and Di Maio. But all of those lists, plus the Democratic Party, currently add up to about 35% of the vote. This means that there is no play between the two poles. With this advantage, the right has the chance to win even in 90% of the one-man constituencies and thus an absolute majority of the seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

That’s how things are now. Can you switch by September 25th? It is possible. The change depends on a number of factors that are currently difficult to assess. It is not known to what extent the government crisis will affect voters’ opinions. This factor could hurt La Liga and Forza Italia in particular. The Draghi factor could also be important. The Prime Minister remains a very popular figure and the Democratic Party is believed to have been the party that has been most loyal to his government. Abstention will also play its part. In general, low turnout tends to favor the centre-left. Not to mention the 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 in a phase of great turmoil 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 that to happen, the centre-left party has to run a perfect election campaign. You have to guess sounds, themes, alliances and candidates. It’s uphill, but you don’t lose yourself in advance. We’ve seen campaigns where one formation had a clear advantage early on and ended up on the arrival photo. This could be one of them. But it’s a risky bet.

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Source elpais.com

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