“Whoever wanted to bring down the government lost”, welcomed the announcement of the first results, Nicola Zingaretti, Secretary General of the Democratic Party (PD, center-left), one of the two forces in power in Italy with the 5 Star Movement (M5S, populist).
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The main opponents, Matteo Salvini (League) and Giorgia Meloni (Fratelli d’Italia, Fdi), wanted to turn these by-elections into a debacle for the executive. Despite a compact coalition around common candidates and a drum-beating campaign against a disunited center-left and a single local alliance between the PD and the M5S, they failed.
Rise of power of Fratelli d’Italia
In a new conquest, the far-right duo managed to seize only the Marches: the region of Ancona, ruled by the center-left for 70 years. A “capture” of 1.5 million inhabitants still confirms the rise of the Fratelli d’Italia party of Giorgia Meloni. One of its candidates was elected with 49.1% of the vote. With Abruzzo, Fratelli d’Italia now controls two regions.
→ REPORT. Elections in Italy: the far right advances in the Marche
For his ally, Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, the failure is obvious, his party failed to impose itself as he had hoped in Tuscany, which remained on the left. Polls gave him hope and he personally invested in it alongside candidate Susanna Ceccardi. At 33, she has scored a good score (40.5%) in this former center-left fortress since the post-war period. But not enough to prevail against a cacique of the PD, Eugenio Giani, 61, elected at 48.6%.
“The left regrouped at the last moment to stop Salvini, the” barbarian “, as it had done last January in Emilia-Romagna”, recalls Alessandro Chiaramonte, professor of political science at the University of Florence.
Campania stays on the left
The same movement took place in Puglia, where the center-left resisted the onslaught of the center-right coalition at 46.8% against 38.9%. And this, despite initial estimates giving the two main candidates neck-to-neck. Unsurprisingly, Campania, region of Naples, remains on the left by renewing Vicenzo de Luca at 69.5%: “The 71-year-old governor with a strong personality has widely used the Covid crisis to campaign, decrypts Alessandro Chiaramonte. He was on TV every night and stigmatized a lot Salvini and his walkabout without a mask ”.
In the North, the League retains as expected Liguria and Veneto, whose two outgoing governors were re-elected: the first, Giovanni Toti, with 56.1% of the vote, on the strength of the inauguration of the new bridge in Genoa in August ; the second, Luca Zaia, at 76.8%, driven by his good management of the coronavirus.
The latter could well be a future competitor for Matteo Salvini in the coming months: “He was running for the League with his own list which alone collected 45%, explains the political scientist. An absolute record in such an election, showing that he is called upon to have an important leadership role within the League. ” At the national level, 15 regions are now held by the right and 5 by the left.