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Italian parties warm motors for election campaign

Ⓒ AFP – Tiziana Fabi – | The leader of the 5-star Movement, Luigi di Maio, in a protest in Rome against the new electoral law on October 12, 2017

Following the passage of a new electoral law on Thursday, Italian politicians, led by former presidents Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Renzi, began to prepare for the 2018 legislative elections.

The date of the next elections will be known after President Sergio Mattarella dissolves the parliament, but observers think that they could be celebrated between the beginning of March until May at the latest.

The Senate must still approve the new electoral law and in addition the president will not dissolve the parliament before the approval of the budget of 2018.

The new electoral law, if tested by the Senate, provides for the election of 225 deputies in a uninominal scrutiny, in which the most voted candidate is elected, and 386 under a proportional list system.

The system for senators also reflects this mixed scheme, which favors mainly large coalitions of parties and harms groups such as the 5-Star Movement (M5S), the antisystem formation of the ex-Beppe Grillo, who rejects the alliances.

The new law has the support of the Democratic Party (PD, center-left), currently in government, and of the two main right-wing opposition parties, Matteo Salvini’s Northern League and Forza Italia (FI). Silvio Berlusconi.

This system is an advantage for traditional parties, with a strong territorial base, which have locally known candidates, to the detriment of the M5S, whose less visible candidates are selected by an internet vote.

According to the latest polls, the M5S would get 27% of the voting intentions, placing head to head with the PD, ahead of FI and the Northern League, tied with 14% each.

– Governance problem –

The adoption of the electoral law was like a pistolazo of exit for the parties, that had waited for months the beginning of the campaign.

This weekend, Silvio Berlusconi gathers in Ischia, an island located opposite Naples, the leaders of his party under the motto: “Ready to rule.”

Meanwhile, on October 17, Matteo Renzi takes a train in Rome to start a “Tour of Italy” that will take him to all regions of the peninsula.

From 27 to 29 October, his party will hold a conference in Naples to adopt an electoral program and at the end of November he organizes a great kerme in Florence, the city of Matteo Renzi.

The electoral campaign is announced long and the result, uncertain.

The political landscape, very fragmented, announces a struggle of all against all. Matteo Renzi faces dissidents on his left and Forza Italia and the Northern League, to the right-wing rivalry Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), which opposes the new electoral law.

For its part, the M5S flatly rejects all other parties, with which it does not envisage any alliance.

“The reservations and doubts about the ability” of this law to “heal Italy of ungovernability persist,” wrote Massimo Franco, editorialist of the daily Corriere della Sera.

“Unfortunately, numerous projections on the composition of parliament after the legislature say that it will be a miracle to form a stable government,” he added.

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