Salvini’s success

The European elections ratify the primacy of the Lega, which won 34.3%of the votes. Vice Premier Salvini has gathered over two million votes: the polls confirm that he is the main character of the current Italian political scene . In less than fifteen months the power relations within the Government have reversed: the 5 Star Movement collapsed to 17.1%, being overtaken by the Democratic Party, which reached 22.7%. Forza Italia did not exceed the expected threshold of 10%, stopping at 8.8%. On the other hand, Fratelli d’Italia achieved a good result, standing at 6.4%. +Europa, the Greens and the Left have not reached the required threshold, and did not make it to the European Parliament. The turnout was 56.1%, a drop of -2.6% compared to 2014.

The Lega’s glorious accomplishment

The Lega – based on non-final results – adds a +27.9% to the votes collected at the 2014 European elections (absolute votes: +7.451.000), and records +16.9% compared to the 2018 general elections (+3.479.620). In five and a half years steering the Lega, Salvini has succeeded in expanding the traditional electoral base in northern Italy (over 40% in both constituencies of reference). He has also successfully brought the party to the national level, making it achieve remarkable results also in the center (33.4%), south (23.1%) and islands (22.4%). A record full of consequences for the late center-right area, whose geography is literally turned upside down after twenty-five years, and for the current Administration.

The defeat of the 5-Star Movement

A clear downturn for the Grillo and Di Maio movement, which lost -4.1% compared to 2014 (absolute votes: -1,252,000) and -15.6% compared to the last general elections (-6.130.925). In the context of a strong retreat, the “southernization” of this force is stressed. The M5S maintains its primacy in the southern (29.1%) and island (29.8%) constituencies: an increasingly marked weakness is revealed, in fact, from Naples upward. In the Campanian capital city, the M5S reached 40%, while in the central constituencies it stopped at15.9%, then achieving11.1% in the north-west and 10.3% in the north-east. The very first analysis of the flows shows that the Lega has consistently benefited from the vote leakage that affected the 5-Star Movement. Also the Democratic Party has participated in these benefits to a small extent. However, the result achieved by the M5S is even worse than any pre-polls expectation: the “swerving” to the left of the last few weeks, the change in its communicative style with its government ally and the electoral base, and the renewed legalist drive did not work.

The progress of Partito Democratico (PD)

New secretary Zingaretti marks a first positive result since he took office, contributing to the electoral overtaking of the PD against the 5-Star Movement. In comparison with the 2014 data, coinciding with the peak of the Renzian ascent, the balance could only be negative (-18.1%, equal to -6.028.000 in absolute votes). Nevertheless, progress was recorded compared with last year’s general elections; +4%, which however corresponds to a drop of about 50,000 in terms of absolute votes. However, the Dem votes do not change their shape significantly: on a regional scale, the PD prevails only in Tuscany, and regarding big cities, it conquers the same Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence, Genoa, Cagliari and Bergamo as first party.

Forza Italia‘s debacle

The negative result of Forza Italia, -8% compared to 2014 (absolute votes: -2.266.000) and -5.2% compared to 2018 (-2.239.901), risks seriously triggering that internal showdown that has been somehow delayed until the present day. The European election disaggregated data mainly reveals the depth of the party’s crisis in the productive areas of the country: in the north-west Forza Italia stops at 8.8% and in the north-east at 5.8%. A more accurate examination of the preferences, whose definitive results are still awaited, will be able to better define the perimeters of the internal competing trends that has taken place in this electoral round. Berlusconi exceeds 180,000 preferences in the north-west and in the south, collecting instead about half in the other two constituencies in which he was a candidate. Tajani – first candidate in the Center constituency – reaches nearly 60,000: a lower result than expected, which fits in well with the context of a general political downsizing that only the south (12.2%) and islands (14.7%) escape.

Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) goes to Brussels

After the great disappointment of 2014, when just 90,000 votes were missing to reach the required 4%, Fratelli d’Italia will step into the next European Parliament. With its 6.4%, Giorgia Meloni’s party improves from the previous elections by 2.7% (absolute votes: +717,000) and by 2.2% compared to 2018 general elections (+299.313). Despite its program, aimed at intercepting the consensus of the productive areas, FdI stands at only 5.6% in the north-west and 5.7% in the north-east, thus confirming its central-southern center of gravity: 6,9% in the center, 7.5% in the south and 7.2% in the islands.

North vs South: City vs Suburbs

The European elections give an interesting political picture of Italy. With different alchemies, in fact, the political center of gravity of the Lega and the Democratic Party resides in the centernorth-west and north-east while M5S  and Forza Italia are centered in the south and the islands. At the same time, we note that a mostly Lega-driven North region is balanced in the  south and in the islands by a four-fold distribution of the political forces. This lack of clarity, and the consequent logical contradictions, once again draw attention to the deep social and economic divisions that affect the country at this stage. Indeed, large cities provide a faithful picture of this fragmentation. Big cities are largely dominated by the PD in the north and center, while the M5S prevails in the south, where political tensions tend to politically oppose the center from the periphery.

The post-vote government scenario

Never before has the fate of the government been hanging by a thread as it is now. The last weeks of the electoral campaign have worn down the relations between Lega and M5S. As a result, far from mending the physiological fibrillation to which every government is subjected on the occasion of elections, by inverting levers and percentages, it has exacerbated it. The overall growth in consents for the government area, + 1.4% compared to the 2018 general elections, is therefore a figure devoid of any significance in the face of the rough distance that separates the Lega from the 5-Star Movement in absolute percentage terms. The caution with which the government allies are sipping public statements in these hours must not mislead us. Where the next “political clarification” had a negative outcome, the form of this “break-up” and the reasons given would take on importance more than anything else. Therefore, flat tax reform, “TAV” (high speed railway between Italy and France) and regional autonomies risk to represent the ground of the final clash that would lead to an early vote after the summer.

EPP (15 MEPs)

The most eye-catching move is the decision by Elisabetta Gardini to leave FI and join the…

S&D (31 MEPs)

Two thirds of the current PD MEPs are standing again, with Simona Bonafé heading the list…

ECR (2 MEPs)

Raffaele Fitto, who was  elected in 2014 for the Conservatori e Riformisti party, will…

ALDE (0 MEPs)

Surprisingly, Italy has no members of the ALDE group

GUE (3 MEPs)

Rifondazione Comunista  – The situation within the GUE and its main Party, European Left,…

EFDD (14 MEPs)

Deputy Prime Minister Di Maio announced that their lists will be open to civil society…

ENF (6 MEPs)

League – Salvini’s leadership of the party is currently very strong and he will be able…

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