Italian elections 2013

by Lorenzo Piccoli

The next weekend there is going to be a long awaited political election in Italy. With six days to voting day, here’s what I think will happen.

The centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani’s Partito Democratico will win a majority in both the chambers of the house, probably with a larger margin in the lower house. The centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi’s Freedom’s People Party will get between 20 and 25% of the votes. Giuseppe Grillo will get more than 15% of the votes, perhaps even 20%. Mario Monti will get about 15%, probably less. The other parties and coalitions seriously risk not hitting the 4% threshold required to enter parliament.

Three traditionally right-wing regions are crucial for the final victory: they are Veneto, Sicily and Lombardia. I expect the centre-left to win in two of these three regions, although by a very narrow margin.

However, there will very little to celebrate. Due to the extreme fragmentation of the political system and to a terrible voting system, the centre-left victory will be extremely fragile. To be allowed to govern, sooner or later the left-wing will have to rely on Monti’s support. This is a good thing, in my opinion. Personally, I hope that Monti could bring a very positive contribution to limit the contractual power of the most radical part of the centre-left coalition, that is represented by old-school communists as Nicola Vendola and Stefano Fassina. These are great politicians when it comes to the rhetoric, but terrible leaders when it comes to public policy-making.

I am also extremely worried by Giuseppe Grillo and his supporters. This movement is riding a violent, populistic and antagonistic campaign and it is very hard to imagine how it can bring a positive contribution to the next parliament.

Finally, I have grown indifferent to the people that will vote – once again – for Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition. I have come to the conclusion that these voters are either ignorant (they are not informed on the actual facts and figures), stupid (they get fascinated by false and misleading narratives), or selfish (they believe in heavy tax cuts, which by the way were promised by Berlusconi in 1994, 2001, 2008, and never delivered). Even more likely, they are a combination of the three.