While European social-democratic forces celebrate the victory of the socialist Hollande in the French Presidential race, the administrative and mayoral elections held in Italy seem to provide a more blurred and nuanced picture.
Berlusconi’s party, the PDL, dramatically lost consensus, dropping to a meagre 8.2% in L’Aquila (still a ghost town after the 2009 earthquake), and 12.7% in Genoa. The same happened to the Northern League, weakened by the recent financial scandals involving its founder Umberto Bossi, his sons Riccardo Libertà and Renzo, and other high-ranking members such as Rosi Mauro (former vice-president of the Parliament’s Lower Chamber). Only Flavio Tosi, the outgoing mayor of Verona, secured re-election after the first round, with a safe majority of 57%: his stance as “renovator” in the Northern League seems to have preserved his personal credibility even with the general crisis of his party.
Political forces of the center-left are ahead in the race, with the few exceptions of Lecce, Catanzaro, and Verona; however, these elections represent a defeat of the right-wing forces more than a victory of the Italian left. The electoral gains of the PD and the SEL (Sinistra Ecologia Libertà, the main post-Communist formation resulting from the split of the former PRC, Communist Re-Foundation Party) seem to be in the 0.5-2% range. Palermo seems to provide partial exception to this scenario, since its second round is likely to be disputed between the two souls of the leftist forces (the moderate candidate Ferrandelli, supported by the PD and the SEL, against Leoluca Orlando, supported by the more radical parties IDV and Communist Re-Foundation); however, due to grave mistakes in the ballot count, no definitive data have yet been provided. Meanwhile, the “Movimento a Cinque Stelle” (henceforth M5S) founded and lead by stand-up comedian Beppe Grillo has gained consensus, often overcoming the 10% quota and making it to the second round of election in Parma. Civic slates affiliated with M5S obtained 19.5% of the consensus in Parma, 13.5% in Genoa, 9.4% in Verona; furthermore, the M5S movement won the mayoral race in the small town of Sarego, near Vicenza. While a detailed analysis of this result would still be premature, it already seems evident that the traditional political forces and parties are losing ground, giving way to non-traditional ones and entailing the risk of a populist, demagogic turn.
Finally, a civic slate supporting the No-TAV movement won the local election in Avigliana, a town of 11,000 inhabitants in the province of Turin, which is directly threatened by the project of the Turin-Lyon High-Speed Railway. Despite running together, the PD (the largest Italian center-left party) and the PDL (Berlusconi’s party) were unable to defeat the no-TAV slate, which won with a 15% margin. Once again, the No-TAV movement, despite being accused of violence and extremism, shows its local roots and its popular consensus.
– text [en] Movimento Cinque Stelle (5 stars movement)