On Sunday, the 4th of March, the Italian people went to the polls to cast their ballot. The results were quite unexpected as voters favored the anti-establishment parties. The two parties that emerged with the most votes were the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD).
The two parties have more or less equal power, but the thing is, for another round of elections to be avoided, both need to agree on a coalition and strike a deal. No current coalition has a majority and the electoral system isn’t what you would call exactly ‘simple.’ In a previous article [https://europefx.com/italian-elections-2018/] we talked about the Rosatellum System, which essentially means that the way seats are awarded involves both proportional representation and direct constituencies.
PARTY BY PARTY
The primary alliances are made up of various parties and the Center-right alliance covers a significantly broad section of the political spectrum. Lega, previously Euro-skeptics have now shifted to a more nationalist stance, overtaking Forza Italia (FI), traditionally a more center-right party. Fratelli d’Italia, an extreme right party also saw some gains in votes.
WHAT NEXT THEN?
DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PD) – CENTER-LEFT PARTY
Leader: Matteo Renzi
It was expected that the PD was going to underperform but officials admit that results are even worse than they feared. Matteo Renzi’s political career has taken yet another severe blow.
FORZA ITALIA (FI) – CENTER-RIGHT PARTY
Leader: Silvio Berlusconi
Even though FI is allied with the biggest coalition, they don’t hold the biggest numbers within the alliance. This has left ex-Prime Minister Berlusconi, who has been banned from office, short of the influence and authority he needs to be a significant member of this government.
FIVE STAR MOVEMENT (M5S) – ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT PARTY
Leader: Luigi di Maio
Having emerged as the victors of this election despite their protestations, the M5S needs to throw away their anti-politics stance if they are to strike a coalition deal.
LEGA (NORTHERN LEAGUE NL) – EURO-SCEPTIC PARTY
Leader: Matteo Salvini
Up until very recently, Lega had been – by design – a local force in Italy. After managing third place in these elections which points to nationwide support, they have become the main partner in the right-wing’s coalition. This has significantly strengthened Salvini’s influence in government negotiations to come.
DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS – PER REGION
Source: Italian interior ministry. [https://www.interno.gov.it/en]
DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS – PER AGE FOR THE FIVE STAR MOVEMENT
There are two important things to note about the M5S results.
- In areas with a high percentage of people under 30, they did well.
- In areas with a high percentage of university graduates, not so much.
WHAT COALITIONS COULD MAKE UP THE NEXT GOVERNMENT?
Mathematically, the possibilities are many and feasible. Politically, the road is a little bumpy. These election results suggest that Italy has been split in three – Forza Italia, led by Silvio Berlusconi, Northern League, led by Matteo Renzi and the Five Star Movement, led by Luigi di Maio.
None of the three parties have enough seats to form a government on their own so someone will have to provide the necessary support if Italy is to avoid another round of elections and manage a majority for their 630-seat Parliament. Like we previously said, plenty of possibilities are mathematically possible but politically complicated.
POPULIST AND FAR RIGHT
FIVE STAR MOVEMENT AND NORTHERN LEAGUE
By a significant margin, the M5S is the largest party in Parliament with 231 seats. Northern League came second with 123 seats, giving this potential coalition a total of 354 parliamentary seats. The M5S has never been keen on forming coalitions and sharing power, but given the election results, things have changed, and they are at least willing to discuss the possibility of an alliance. Leader of the M5S, Luigi di Maio stated that he “will discuss with all other parties,” and went on to add that his party has “a responsibility to govern.”
POPULIST, FAR-RIGHT, RIGHTWING
FIVE STAR MOVEMENT, NORTHERN LEAGUE, FORZA ITALIA
This is indeed, a very strong alliance giving this coalition a total of 453 parliamentary seats, out of which 99 would belong to Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. With Forza Italia’s presence significantly less than that of Lega’s, Claudio Borghi proposed a right-wing coalition, governed by his Party’s leader Mr. Matteo Salvini (Lega) saying that they could reach an agreement with M5S. Mr. Salvini doesn’t appear to be on the same page firmly stating that he is “committed” to his own alliance with FI but says that Lega not only “has the duty” but the “right” to lead.
CENTER-LEFT AND RIGHTWING
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, FORZA ITALIA AND THE NORTHERN LEAGUE
This coalition could manage 327 parliamentary seats, out of which 222 would belong to the right-wing and 105 to the Democrats. The reason this coalition is highly unlikely is because the center-left part is pro-European, unlike Lega, who holds a firm anti-immigration and anti-EU stance.
If no agreement can be reached and no coalition formed, then Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella, will call the Italian people to the polls again and could even decide to leave Gentiloni’s government in place until new elections can be organized. The Parliament is set to meet on the 23rd of March and only then could this process begin. Until then, we wait because in Italian politics – there’s never a dull day.
This article is for educational and informative purposes only and should not be considered as investment or trading advice.