Italy: failure of 5 referendums and advance of the right in the municipal elections

From Rome

With an influx of votes that once again confirmed the little interest on behalf of many citizens to elect their future rulers, the elections in 971 municipalities concluded on Monday in Italy, where a advance from the rightespecially the party Fratelli d’Italia of the far-right Giorgia Meloni, who managed to beat her ally in several placesLa Liga, Matteo Salvini’s match. This fact triggered certain doubts about the future of the coalition, according to some analysts, because it could spark internal disputes.

Voter turnout varied by region, going from a high of 68.9% of voters in Campania (Naples region) to a low of 50.6% in the Molise region (centre of the country). The national average attendance was 60.1%, almost the same as the 2017 municipal elections that reached 60.7%, always according to data from the Italian Ministry of the Interior.

Abstentionism is a phenomenon which has been going on for several years, while a few decades ago Italy was instead considered an example at European level for the commitment and responsibility shown by its citizens by showing up to vote in large numbers.

The results

Several of the municipalities must go to the second round on June 26 because none of the candidates received more than 50% of the votes. But you go to the ballottage or not depending on the number of inhabitants of each municipality. There is no second round in small municipalities.

Among the 22 provincial capitals that went to the vote, several will have to go to the ballottage, including some important ones such as Verona (from the Veneto region) and Parma (Emilia Romania). In both the centre-left is predominant but did not win. Instead, the center-left won in Padua (northeast), Taranto (southeast) and Lodi (north), among others.

In the capitals of regions that voted to elect their mayors, such as L’Aquila (capital of the Abruzzo region) and Genoa (Liguria) and, according to what is also emerging, Palermo (Sicily), the right went ahead with candidates from the League, Fratelli d’Italia and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, parties that said they were super happy for the 20 new mayors they got in these elections. According to Meloni, his party is the force that drags the entire center-right while according to Salvini, his party has acted as a unifying force, even at the cost of his personal sacrifice.

There were few comments from the center-left. Giuseppe Conte, who leads the Five Star Movement said he was not satisfied with the results which actually saw his percentage of votes drop. But the worst, Conte stressed, was the abstentionism. For the leader of the Democratic Party (PD), Enrico Letta, who reiterated that the center-left wins only when it is united and presents credible candidates, one of the important things that emerged from these elections is that the PD proved to be the first party in Italy for the number of votes received.


The scant presence of voters also made on Sunday that five referendums of justice issues on which the voters had to express their opinion, will come to nothing, because the 50% plus 1 of votes necessary for their approval or disapproval to be valid was not reached. In the five referendums voted in the country only 20.9% of those who have the right to vote there are about 47 million people in the country.

In Italy, according to the law, all Italian citizens over 18 years of age have the right to vote. But in municipal elections immigrants from European countries can also do so. This time more than 9 million people were expected to turn out to vote.

The five referendums, proposed mainly by the League of Matteo Salvini (right) and the Radical Party (centre), had to decide whether to approve or repeal some articles of law. Among them, that people who have received convictions cannot be elected to public office, that judges may or may not exercise the function of prosecutor once and another as judge, and that limits be placed on the preventive detention that is used for the accused.

Some curiosities

While in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, more than 40 presidents of electoral tables did not appear on Sunday for which the elections were very delayed; In another town in the Abruzzo region, Castelguidone, none of its inhabitants showed up to vote.

It is true that this municipality of Abruzzo is very small, only 300 people, but en masse they decided not to vote because the only list of candidates that was presented included only people who did not live in the town. The inhabitants said they did not want to be “used” for the exclusive benefit of those politicians.

In Palermo, according to some media reports, one of the main reasons for the lack of presidents at the polling stations was the soccer match between Palermo and Padua (which ended 1-0) that was played on Sunday and that the young presidents did not they wanted to stop seeing, which would have prevented their presence at the polling stations.

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