Italy election: 10 interesting facts to know about the country’s snap vote

Mid-term general elections are due in Italy on Sunday.

According to opinion polls, a right-wing bloc – consisting of the parties of Giorgia Meloni, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi – is well on its way to victory.

1. This is Italy’s first summer election campaign

A scan through all of Italy’s general elections since the creation of the nation in 1861 shows that this is the first election season that has begun in mid-summer, as well as the first time Italians are going to the polls in September. .

August is usually a time of relaxation for Italians. is the 15th of the month ferragostoAn ancient Roman festival replaced Christian observance, now a national holiday, and sees hordes of Italians flock to the country’s vast coastline.

As such, it is hardly appropriate to launch an election campaign among Italians in the midst of an almost ritualistic lineage on the beach. This is a time when the only “ticket” people want to see is a pedalo fare ticket, not a political party. And this summer nostalgia may last until Election Day: About 40% of voters are not planning to vote.

But there are other technical reasons why Italy never holds elections in the summer. The next year’s budget is usually approved in September, and as such, there is no point in changing the government around this time.

2. Four former prime ministers running for the post

Italian elections can often be summarized by the old wedding saying: “something old, some new, some borrowed, some blue”.

It often sees a mix of fresh-faced candidates and ghosts from the past, and this time is no exception: There are four former prime ministers in the race.

The center-left bloc’s biggest force, the Democratic Party, is led by Enrico Letta, a professor who was previously appointed as the technical head of a big-tent coalition government in 2013. Their 10-month premiere was ended as a result of a scuffle. within his party, and he was succeeded by Matteo Renzi in February 2014.

Renzi himself, while no longer a member of the Democratic Party, is running for PM again this year – this time, as a candidate for a significantly smaller centrist coalition called the Third Pole (Terzo Polo).

The Five Star Movement is also led by a well-known face: Giuseppe Conte, a lawyer who chaired two coalition cabinets from 2018 to 2021 and led Italy through the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their downfall was initiated by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who withdrew his support from the coalition and triggered a government crisis.

And finally, Italy’s longtime former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has made a Phoenix-like return as part of a right-wing coalition.

3. Italy has had 67 governments since the end of World War II

Italy is a country renowned for its political instability, and so it is not surprising that it has seen 67 cabinets since the end of World War II.

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It averages about one government every 13 months.

There are many reasons for the instability of governments in Italy. Part of this lies in the country’s ever-changing electoral laws.

Professor Daniele Pasquinucci, a historian at the University of Siena, told Euronews that the matter is complex and cannot be narrowed down to one factor.

“I don’t want to say it’s an Italian problem in general,” he said, alluding to France’s history of changing governments. “But it is rooted in different issues. Italy’s electoral system, in a certain context, can provoke instability, as well as internal strife among the parties.”

4. Outgoing PM Mario Draghi was ousted by Giuseppe Conte – the same PM he replaced

In the labyrinthine world of Roman politics, politics can often be a tit-for-tat game.

In January 2021 – in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis and just as the vaccination plan was being rolled out – Premier Giuseppe Conte was ousted after former PM Renzi withdrew his support from the coalition.

Mario Draghi, nicknamed Super Mario for his acclaimed financial policies, was selected and appointed as Prime Minister.

But this July, Draghi found himself to resign as a result of a government crisis that was perpetrated by none other than Conte himself, the leader of the aggrieved Five Star Movement.

The crisis erupted after disagreements over how the funding should be spent, and the government’s three coalition parties avoided a trust vote.

5. Potential next PM Georgia Meloni once described Mussolini as a ‘good politician’

In a recent interview with French TV from 1996, a 19-year-old Giorgia Meloni – then a budding student activist – can be seen describing Benito Mussolini as a “good politician”.

Meloni, who leads the Italian Brothers’ Movement, was widely criticized by his opponents for not shaking the party’s neo-fascist roots, even maintaining the tricolor flame of the post-fascist Italian social movement. has been criticized by

In an interview with Euronews, Meloni associated himself with conservatives such as the UK’s Conservative Party, US Republicans and Israel’s Likud, and gave no indication of any neo-fascist tendencies within his party.

“The Brothers of Italy is a party of Italian conservatives: we believe in individual liberty and the importance of family, in Italian, European and Western cultural identity, in private entrepreneurship and social solidarity,” she said. “We are a modern right-wing government, which today controls 15 of the 20 territories in Italy.”

She has also rejected the label ‘Eurosceptic’ – in response to her supposedly cavalier attitude towards Brussels – and prefers to be defined as a ‘Eurorealist’ instead.

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6. Nationalist candidate Matteo Salvini expressed happiness over Italy’s defeat in the Football World Cup

Matteo Salvini is often credited with igniting a populist and nationalist tide that paved the way for Meloni, which eventually robbed him of his popularity.

Few outside Italy may be aware of how – before coming to power – Salvini was actually a left-wing separatist – who also cheered for Italy’s rival, France, at the 2006 World Cup.

His party, the Northern League, was founded in 1989 as a separatist movement that wanted independence for the prosperous Po Valley regions of Italy.

Part of its rhetoric was steeped in Nordicism—an appreciation of northern Italy’s Celtic heritage—and a supposedly corrupt, mafia-ridden Rome and a sense of disdain for the south, with the capital’s nickname roma ladrona (“Rome the Robber”).

Such anti-South sentiment was deeply intertwined with anti-Italian rhetoric. The former party leader, Umberto Bossi, was also indicted in 1997 for saying that he had used the Italian flag as toilet paper.

After a set of corruption scandals, Salvini re-branded the once moribund party and made it a hard-right, nationalist force with the mantra “Italians First”.

Perhaps another skeleton in Salvini’s cell is that the radical right-wing was communist and even ran on a far-right ticket in the 1990s.

He admits that he has been a member of Leoncavallo – a radical social center in a squatted Milan factory.

7. Beach lidos are a topic of discussion

Outside Italy, it may seem that a political discussion on the future of beach businesses would be a minor issue, especially amid the delicate global economic and geopolitical context.

But in a South European country with 7,500 kilometers of coastline and 12,166 lidos, This is a matter of significant controversy,

As part of an EU Recovery and Resilience plan backed by the outgoing Draghi government, concessions for beachfront establishments – largely family-run businesses – are to be put to tender in 2024.

It comes after years of pressure from Brussels to open up the beach market to competition, which has been opposed by Italian governments.

Bath clubs across the country are protesting the move, leading to a particularly heated set of confrontations with both the Rome establishment and environmental activists.

Most prominently, the Italian brothers opposed the EU-backed move and supported the disgruntled Lido Lordes, with one of the party’s senators, Antonio Ianone, saying that they would “continue to fight for the bathing establishments” resulting in him. Says “obvious”. injustice”.

8. The coalition effort between the centrist and the left lasted for five days

Shortly after snap elections were called, an attempt was made in August to establish a coalition between the centre-left bloc (headed by the Democratic Party) and a newly formed party led by Carlo Calenda, the breakaway centrist Democratic Party.

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The alliance was meant to counter the growing power of the right-wing faction, but it did not succeed – in fact, it lasted only five days.

Calenda claimed that the centre-left bloc lacked “courage, beauty, seriousness and love”, and decided to form an alliance with another Democratic Party dissident – ​​Matteo Renzi.

This sharp fallout has resulted in centre-left and centrist leaders doing business, especially on social media.

9. Former PM and 85 year old candidate Silvio Berlusconi has landed on Tik Tok

To many around the world, Silvio Berlusconi is remembered for his scandals rather than his policies. But the controversial television tycoon and former PM is still in the running and has now spread his wings on the other side of the media – Tik Tok.

Earlier in the month, Berlusconi took to the social media app in an effort to appeal to younger voters, even quipping that he wasn’t meant to attract his “girlfriends.”

He has already attracted more than 500,000 followers – even more than the right-wing leader, Giorgia Meloni, who numbers 181,000 – but Euronews’ Rome correspondent, Giorgia Orlandi, suspects the move could have a bearing on his election. There will be a significant impact on the prospects.

“People are laughing now instead of taking her seriously… her age has definitely passed,” she told Euronews.

10. Hillary Clinton endorses Meloni as “a step forward” for women

In an interview earlier this month, former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – who admitted she was not well acquainted with Meloni – claimed that her potential election was “a step forward” for women. will represent.

This would appear to be a surprising near-endorsement, especially given her differing political backgrounds and Meloni’s support for former Republican President Donald Trump.

The leader of the Brothers of Italy agreed with the former US Secretary of State’s comments and Euronews that his election would be a “breaker”. [a] taboo” as well as the “glass ceiling”, which still in many Western countries, not only in Italy, prevents women from achieving important public roles in society. companies that hire women and fight against the gender pay gap, family-work reconciliation tools, wider and more efficient services (starting with kindergarten), [and] A family-friendly tax system.”

However, the other women on the left are not so convinced.

Italian Democratic Party MP Lia Quartpel told Euronews that Meloni represents a “token” woman from the right.

“I’ve never seen her fight in the past or see any energy for these issues,” Quartpel said. “His vision does not attempt to change the social structure of inequality.”

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