Elections Coming in Italy

Via the NYT:  Italy’s President Dissolves Parliament and Officially Opens Election Season.

The countdown to Europe’s next pivotal election began on Thursday, when Italy’s president dissolved the Parliament and effectively opened the campaign for the first national elections in five years, scheduled for March 4.

The move by President Sergio Mattarella now places Italy’s always tumultuous politics in the spotlight after a year in which populist forces, while beaten back in elections in several other countries, continued to reshape the political landscape across Europe.

The general election will be Italy’s first since 2013, when the government led by the center-left Democratic Party succeeded the caretaker administration of Mario Monti, a technocratic who stepped in after Silvio Berlusconi, then prime minister, resigned in the midst of Italy’s debt crisis.

There is a lot to watch here, including:

  • A new electoral law.
  • “The country’s general election will be the next test of an important European nation that hopes to ward off potential outside meddling, bogus news stories and populist forces.”
  • “The Five Star Movement — a pro-Russian, conspiracy-prone, insurgent agglomeration that prides itself on using nonprofessional politicians — enters the campaign as Italy’s most popular political force.”
  • The role of immigration/refugees.

More from the BBC:

The ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) faces a strong challenge from anti-establishment Five Star (M5S) and right-wing Forza Italia, who want tough measures to curb immigration.

The influx of migrants – mostly from sub-Saharan Africa – is a major issue.

[…]

Opinion polls suggest the main rivals – PD, M5S and Forza Italia – will split the vote, making an overall majority for any party unlikely.

According to the polls, M5S has the most voter support – about 28%, ahead of PD on about 23% and Forza Italia, on about 16%, Reuters news agency reports.

FILED UNDER: Europe, Quick Takes, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter