March 4. 2024. 10:40

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Italian right wins ‘vote of confidence’ in two most populous regions


Italy’s right-wing parties made huge gains during the regional elections held in two of Italy’s most populous regions, Lazio and Lombardy, confirming Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s leadership and the left opposition’s ceaseless decline.

In Lazio, a region of almost six million inhabitants, the centre-right candidate Francesco Rocca overtook the centre-left candidate Alessio D’Amato by around 20 percentage points, scoring 53% and 34%, respectively.

In Lombardy, a region of about 10 million inhabitants, Attilio Fontana (Lega/ID) was reconfirmed as governor with 55% of the votes against the left-wing candidate Pierfrancesco Majorino who scored 34%.

It is a “result that consolidates the compactness of the centre-right and strengthens the work of the government”, Meloni commented on Twitter.

“It is a vote of confidence in the government”, said the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia).

The triumph of the Italian right was overshadowed by Forza Italia Silvio Berlusconi’s earlier comments against Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which put Meloni in a difficult position again.

Meloni has not commented on the incident and has cancelled all of her scheduled engagements for Monday due to the flu, a note from Palazzo Chigi said.

Rumours in Rome suggest that Berlusconi lashed out against the Ukrainian leader due to Forza Italia’s negative polls in Lombardy, while Meloni’s illness is a ploy to keep the controversy quiet.

The turnout, though, reached an all-time low.

In Lombardy, it stood at 41.6%, while in Lazio, it was 37.2%. Rome holds the negative record with 33%: two out of three citizens did not vote.

Why the Left collapsed

The left, however, came out as one of the election’s losers.

Analysts attribute the heavy defeat to the lack of national leadership in the Democratic Party (PD/S&D), which will elect its new secretary in the spring.

The president of Emilia-Romagna, Stefano Bonaccini, and MP and former MEP Elly Schlein is in the lead to replace former premier and PD Secretary Enrico Letta.

MPs Gianni Cuperlo and Paola De Micheli are also candidates. Both Bonaccini and Schlein spoke of a “clear defeat” of the left and called for a profound change in the party.

Another divisive element was the Third Pole, formed by Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva and Carlo Calenda’s “Azione”, which ran alone in Lombardy with former minister Letizia Moratti and instead supported left-wing candidate Alessio D’Amato in Lazio.

The 5-Star Movement led by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte collapsed both in Lazio, with candidate Donatella Bianchi, and in Lombardy, where it supported left-wing candidate Piefrancesco Majorino together with the Democratic Party.

According to Majorino, the Qatargate scandal has negatively affected the reputation of left-wing parties in the eyes of voters, and the defeat of the SPD in Germany, in addition to the result of this election round in Italy, makes him fear that there is a tendency to mistrust the progressive left at the EU level.

(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)