Italian regional elections

(held over 20-21st September, 2020)

Intro; Democratic party (PD) leader Zingaretti is the masked figure waving in the left- neoliberal/centre-left Repubblica lead article below ;

https://elezioni.repubblica.it/?ref=RHPPTP-DE

See also for map of regions (leading to specific results) https://elezioni.repubblica.it/2020/elezioni-regionali/

There is a messy Wiki in english of results so far this year (leading on to regional Wikis) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Italian_regional_elections

7 regions were up for grabs, the centre-left (now including 5 star in Liguria in the north) held 3 and lost one, while the right solidified control of the remaining 3 (A referendum to drastically cut the number of parliamentarians was simultaneously approved by a large margin). My understanding is limited by having to use translation services .

   Prelude; In January the PD led centre left ( centro-sinistra ) coalition held Emilia Romagna (home of the now questionable Emilian (co-operative) Economic model started under the once dominant (Euro)Communist Party (PCI, that title now hijacked by a remnant Stalinist sect afaik) whose continued importance is argued over elsewhere) . After months of street mobilisation by left inclined youth movement Sardines, a Lega threat was repulsed. No one was sure how these elections would go either, with such a mobilisation not possible for one, and polls again predicting close results in 2 of 4 centre left bastions Tuscany and Puglia. Marche in the east was written off due local factors afaik (5 star insisted on their own list for one, there is no transferable vote system, but a complicated mix of 1st past the post and d’Hondt Pr), with only Campania around Naples thought safe.

The populist extreme right consist of 2 parties, Lega descended from the separatist Lega Nord which once included supposed left nationalists like Salvini himself ,

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/22/matteo-salvini-a-political-chameleon-thriving-on-fears

and Brothers of Italy (FDL) descended from the neo-fascist MSI, strongest in the centre and south https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brothers_of_Italy

These 2 now dominate the so called ‘centre-right’ (centro-destra ) coalition, in fact Bersucloni’s Forza Italia and the older centre-right fragments are now just minor players, but a confusing factor is the lists of personalities like that of Lega’s Zaia, President of Veneto .

The centre-left also resorts to these personality lists , the PD’s DeLuca in Campania being the most significant .

  On the preliminary exit polls the reporting paper above called it a draw (increased turnout due the extended voting and the close opinion polling may have saved them again?) . Despite further increases for the extreme right, the centre left hel the 2 most important regions in doubt Tuscany and Puglia (the latter without Renzi’s centrist party or 5star which were nice if small bonuses for them).

   However the extreme right solidified their marginal control of the once centre-left Liguria around Genoa in the North and gained the long centre-left Marche (along the East coast) as well as holding Veneto by a landslide due personal popularity of the Lega leader Zaia, seen as a competent Salvini opponent within Lega. Valle D’Aosta a minor region in the north has it’s own localist politics (leaning well right wing afaik) which were strong in addition to the pop ext right Lega.

Again on the brightside, the centre left held Campania around Naples by a competing landslide. However the local PD president (the former communist) DeLuca courted the old centre-right vote big time (judging by his crediting them after the result) .

The overall result should secure Zingaretti’s (compared to Ed Milliband by Jacobin, see below) leadership of the (in part) communist tradition Democratic Party (PD) as the arch-neoliberal Renzi’s party flopped badly in regions where they ran in opposition to the main centre left (Puglia and Liguria) . The far left who ran 3 competing lists in Tuscany lost their last and only regional council seat there afaik. Their incoherence continues (see also the Jacobin Italia complaints below)

Despite their populist referendum gambit of reducing the size of the legislature passing with a large margin, it didn’t help them retain support, and 5 star are reduced to a minor party (as polls predicted). Unfortunately even where they joined with the PD in Liguria, Lega could not be stopped (it can be guessed Lega took a lot of their old support). Where they competed they were mostly reduced so far into single digits % as to not make a difference . Municipal council election were held as well, the analysis of which is beyond me as yet.

Afternotes;

Alternative coverage at the (sort of) old libertarian communist paper ‘Il Manifesto’. It allows 3 free reads every 5 days if you are registered and has a weekly English edition (the latter isnt good on Italy though) . It seems to agree with the assessment of the centre-left Repubblica in the main

https://ilmanifesto.it/sezioni/politica/

However the complete lack of excitement on both Jacobin’s main and Italian outlet is striking (compared to their close observing of the US and UK elections), As much coverage was given to the death of an old communist founder of Il Manifesto (also with Il Manifesto), and a not great piece on the coinciding referendum was written by someone in Australia. Paulo Gerbaudo an academic in the UK now, speculates on what the future might bring along with a scattering of other seeming desultory pieces . Some embarrassed bemoaning of the far left’s incoherent strategy while hoping for the emergence of ‘Democratic Socialism’ Corbyn or Sanders style .

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Un altro finale di partito

This translation of a desultory piece concentrating on Zingaretti last year might be summed up by ‘at least he’s not Renzi, but’ . The long depression of much of the Italian left is yet to be lifted. I hope they can find some room for hope in the results

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/03/italian-democratic-party-nicola-zingaretti-salvini

Somewhat late analysis in Italian which hopefully will be better translated than Google Translate can manage on the English site soon . It talks about the continued disarray of the Left of the left/far left (my understanding is far from complete, but a very muddled situation with 2 stalinistic ‘communist’ parties, a Trotskyist dominated coalition PAP that previously was wider, and a more reformist Sinistra Italia in places which is a remnant of the once sizeable Refondizione Communista which split with the neoliberalised side of the PCI who now exist in the PD. More ‘soft left’ bits appear to be in the centre-left coalition if not in the PD, but some of the harder left may have joined too). The loss of their last regional seat is confirmed (in Tuscany) and explained as a combination of tactical voting for the center-left and pointless sectarian lists/vote splitting. A yearning for better tactics is expressed but there does not seem any solid ideas on that front as they seem caught between working in the center-left and working outside it. On the wider front the extension of the great leader conundrum (personalization of politics exacerbated by the Pandemic) to Italian regional elections is examined .

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