Italy: Regional elections and constitutional referendum

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published on 28 September 2020 | reading time approx. 2 minutes

 

​On 20 September 2020, the Italian population was summoned to election in seven regions of the country and called to vote on the reduction of the Italian parliament's size.

  

      
The regional elections were a first test of the mood of the centre-left government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte since the beginning of the Corona crisis. The two major governing parties – the Social Democrats of the PD (Partito Democratico) and the Five-Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle) – can be satisfied overall. The Social Democrats succeeded in Tuscany and Puglia and can continue to govern in both regions.

 

The Five-Star Movement has chalked up the success of the constitutional referendum as a victory for itself. In the future the Italian parliament will have fewer members. With a voter participation of 51.12 per cent, 69.96 per cent of Italians voted in favour to cut the number of members of parliament. The Lower House will have 400 instead of 630 deputies and the Senate 200 instead of 315 senators. The constitutional referendum, driven by the Five-Star Movement, was a response to the dissatisfaction of part of the population regarding the cost of politics and the institutional crisis. Critics believe that it is a populist measure whose cost savings are low and which will lead to less representation and loss of political diversity. Above all, however, the fact that there is still no new electoral law to accompany the constitutional law is problematic, which means that the precise impact of the reduction in the number of parliamentarians is still unknown today.

 
Matteo Salvini’s opposition party, the Lega, suffered defeat, especially due to the loss of votes in Tuscany. With the defeat in Tuscany, Salvini has failed for the second time this year to break through in the traditionally left-wing regions of Italy. In January his candidate was defeated in northern Emilia-Romagna. This latest setback reduces his chances of overthrowing the country’s national coalition government.

 

Conclusion

For investors and in particular German companies as well as our local clients the election results mean that the current government will be able to govern with greater stability and focus on developing a resilient reform programme. The chances of the government remaining in office for the entire legislative period until 2023 are likely to be higher.

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