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Italian elections: three scenarios April 14, 2008

Posted by dorigo in news, politics.
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The last votes have been cast minutes ago, and the first exit poll has just arrived. It appears that the fork between PDL (Berlusconi’s coalition) and PD (Veltroni’s party) is thinner than expected: at the lower chamber 42% to 40%, at the Senate 42.5% vs 39.5%.

Under such circumstances, one can foresee four different scenarios.

1) Exit polls are wrong, Berlusconi has a solid majority in both chambers, and Italy is condemned to 5 gloomy years of government by the right.

2) Despite the smaller-than-expected difference, Berlusconi has a majority of seats in both chambers. The numbers in the Senate (which is elected with a baroque system which never grants a solid majority) make his government very difficult to hold. Berlusconi gets blackmailed by Lega Nord from the start, and his government lasts at most two years. After which, the center-left led by Veltroni becomes a more credible alternative and wins.

3) No clear majority in the Senate for PDL forces a coalition of forces to change the electoral law and administer the country for a few months, and new elections happen in six-eight months time, with a unpredictable result.

4) The undecided response of the urns leads to a dismemberment in the big coalitions, and a coalition of forces, led by Pierferdinando Casini’s UDC, attempts to ride the tiger, with pitiful results.

Not a pretty picture in any case. More to come soon.

UPDATE:

At 9PM, about three fourths of votes have been scrutinized, and the result is not equivocal anymore. Indeed, it is a clear win for the right.

At the Camera dei Deputati the partial counts give PDL 46.2% vs PD 38.1%, while at the Senato della Repubblica the difference is even larger, PDL 47.1% vs PD 38.2%.

It remains to be seen how many seats will PDL win in the Senate. Due to a very strange electoral system, at the Senate the prize for majority is assigned on a regional basis – there are 20 regions in Italy. Because of that, the margin will be narrow, but probably still confortable, for Berlusconi.

We will have to wait tomorrow for a clear analysis, but it looks like Berlusconi is condemned to govern our country for five more years. And we are condemned to be led by him.

UPDATE:

It is now clear that Berlusconi has a full mandate to govern Italy. Even in the critical Senate, he collects 171 seats, which guarantee a solid majority. He said today that his first actions as a prime minister will be to abolish ICI, a very annoying tax – the one on the possession of the house one lives in; and to take care of the critical situation of Alitalia. We will judge him by facts this time.

Comments

1. Chris Hanretty - April 14, 2008

Scenario three seems most probable. 161 seats for the PDL assuming uniform national swing, but agree that the Lega Nord has the PDL by the balls. So to speak.

2. Chris Hanretty - April 14, 2008

Sorry, that is, scenario 2…

3. goffredo - April 14, 2008

Exit polls in Italy are wrong. Most italians are paranoid or sadistic and do not tell the truth when interviewed upon exiting the voting booth. As for me I do not tell people how I vote and if insistently asked I have fun bullshiting. I get quite a kick when they walk away thinking they know how I voted.

The Lega’s hold on Berlusconi’s balls is likely to be less destructive than the hold the extreme left had on Prodi’s balls. Prodi never stood a chance! Most people understood that within less than 6-12 months. Prodi lasted way too long! By comparison I do feel that Berlusconi and Lega could easily stand the full 5 years. Indeed I feel they would have lasted longer than Prodi had they won two years ago by the very same margin that Prodi had.

The real defeated of these elections are those that understood too late how urgent it was and is to distance themselves from the extreme left. The PD one the one hand said they had broke with a certain ways and even founded a new party, but on the admisistrative local level they were marcoscopically allied with the extreme left. A full contradiction.

Also defeated are those that said that people were fed up with politics and would not go to vote.

4. andrew - April 14, 2008

It looks like a clear win for Berlusconi (scenario 1). A sad day for Italy.

5. dorigo - April 14, 2008

Hi all,

about three fourths of votes have been scrutinized, and the result is not equivocal anymore. Indeed, it is a clear win for the right.

At the Camera dei Deputati the partial counts give PDL 46.2% vs PD 38.1%, while at the Senato della Repubblica the difference is even larger, PDL 47.1% vs PD 38.2%.

It remains to be seen how many seats will PDL win in the Senate. Due to a very strange electoral system, at the Senate the prize for majority is assigned on a regional basis – there are 20 regions in Italy. Because of that, the margin will be narrow, but probably still confortable, for Berlusconi.

We will have to wait tomorrow for a clear analysis, but it looks like Berlusconi is condemned to govern our country for five more years. And we are condemned to be led by him.

Jeff, I disagree with a few of the things you say. Exit polls do not work in Italy because people who vote for the right (and people who voted DC two decades ago) usually shy away – they are less comfortable with admitting what is their preference. Not sadistic, just less sincere.
The other thing I disagree with is the “contradiction”, which condemns exactly the same way Berlusconi and Lega Nord, who have tight pacts with Storace’s ex-fascists. This is normal in Italy, and I think it is vacuous to point it out.
Finally, there indeed is a signal of 2%-3% less voters. This is statistically significant. I think it does show a disaffection with politics.

Cheers,
T.

6. changcho - April 14, 2008

I am sorry Benito, excuse me, Silvio Berlusconi won, Tommaso.

7. goffredo - April 15, 2008

changcho. What is stunning is that you think you are funny or worse smart.

8. dorigo - April 15, 2008

Come on Jeff, don’t get cocky. Your party was the major winner of these elections, doubling its percentages. The coalition you favor has a majority in both chambers. Let’s sit down and watch what they can do now. Changcho expressed a feeling shared by many who do not deserve to be insulted: Berlusconi will have his ventennio in the end. He is different from Mussolini but he has surely many things in common with him.

Cheers,
T.

9. goffredo - April 15, 2008

Are you really sure I voted for Berlusconi? My cocky reaction is to the pure stupidity of the childish remarks of changcho! I will refrain from saying he is stupid, but he does a very good job in simulating one.

10. dorigo - April 15, 2008

No Jeff, I think you voted for Lega Nord. I know your opinions in politics, which you do not hide as your vote, and they best match Lega Nord’s ideas. If you did not vote for Lega Nord, you misinterpreted your own thought, or you reported it incorrectly in our discussions.

Why is it stupid to call “Benito” Silvio Berlusconi ? It is a joke of course, but he is not alone, as I said before, in finding similarities.
And childish remarks ? He did not make remarks, only stated who won.

Cheers,
T.

11. Matteo Martini - April 15, 2008

Geeee..
Tommaso, I see you do not play the game “I-know-who-you-have-voted-for” only with me..
Eh! Eh!
Are you so sure that you have mind-reading capabilities?

12. Luboš Motl - April 15, 2008

Congratulations to a great day in Italy and maybe 5 full years of stability, charm, humor, and reviving economy of Italy. See TRF for some jokes and comments.

13. dorigo - April 15, 2008

Matteo, I can add two and two. It still makes four…
Lubos, for charm and humor I might even agree. Reviving economy ? Hmmm…
I did visit your site. I think it is always refreshing to read quotes from Silvio.

Cheers,
T.

14. changcho - April 15, 2008

Come on, goffredo! It’s just a joke…and yes, I am very childish!


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