After an extremely hot summer – and it is not just the weather we are talking about here – recent polls have revealed new developments in the Italian political scenario of the Bel Paese. Based on the stats, who went through sunbathing without getting burnt?
Matteo Renzi, PM. The youngest Prime Minister in the history of Italy and his Partito Democratico (center-left wing, Democratic Party) seem to have spent a very boring vacation indoor. The party’s approval rate is almost unchanged since June – 33%, which does not even begin to compare with the outstanding 40.8% of last year’s European elections. Though his premiership is not in danger, Matteo is getting ready for a cold winter: voting on constitutional reform will show if his peeps are with him or against him.
Movimento Cinque Stelle in search of a leader. Comedian Beppe Grillo’s “political toy”, the Movimento Cinque Stelle (undefined, Movement Five Stars) reaches the highest peek since its first major race – 27%. The Movement has managed to convince a large pool of former Lega Nord (see below), extreme-right and extreme-left wing voters at the sound of an anti-euro and anti-system ideology.
Corruption scandals and reports from Rome’s decay – which was widely described by the NYT – added fuel to the fire and shifted even more support towards these amateur, leaderless MPs. Can unconditional opposition bring victory in the long term?
The other Matteo. Lega Nord (right wing, Northern League) has never witnessed such a result – 14%. Under the leadership of Matteo Salvini, strategies have changed and the Lega Nord has converted into a National League or, better said, into a Front National. With no more calls to secession from Central and Southern regions, Salvini has found new enemies in the thousands of asylum seekers that arrive to the Italian shores every day. His FB activity shows an overwhelming majority of racist and homophobic posts against legal and illegal migrants alike, where one’s crime is blamed on the entire minority. This guy could be part of an entertainment team in a holiday resort – but hey, this is Italy as well!
Silvio, the evergreen. The almost forgotten, self-defined “leader of the moderates” (what?) is the main cause of the Lega Nord’s rise. At his lowest popularity – 11.4% – Berlusconi has left a vacuum in the political representation of the right wing to be exploited by Salvini’s party. Despite his judicial adventures, it looks like one out of ten Italians is not ready to get over him yet. Totally reasonable – who would not miss his sexist, not politically correct, diplomatically risky jokes?
The remaining ones. Nothing too surprising here – Sinistra e Libertà (left wing, Left and Freedom), Fratelli di Italia (extreme right wing, Brothers of Italy) and government’s Nuovo Centrodestra (center right wing, New Center Right) are stable at 4.5%, 3.5% and 2.7% respectively. While it is impossible to watch TV without seeing party leaders Nichi Vendola (SEL) and Giorgia Meloni (FDI) everywhere, their media activism is clearly not reciprocated by opinion polls. On the other side, NCD’s Angelino Alfano has nearly gone M.I.A: if he were not Interior Minister, we could definitely think he moved to some white, sandy beach in the Caribbean.
Ilaria Maroni, is a top political analyst of political landscapes in Europe and Turkey. She studied in prestigious European,Turkish and Middle Eastern Universities. She is currently a political analyst.
*Polls are based on Demos – Atlante Politico, September 2015.