Italy among polls and information

Pie chart with colorful red green pink yellow slices, on light blue background and blue-violet frame, and question marks on each slice
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In the event of a political election, the latest polls at the end of 2020 take for granted a victory of the center-right (made up of Lega, Fratelli d’Italia and Forza Italia).

I need to reflect on it because I honestly do not understand the real reasons that lead to these results. It has always been said that Italy is basically a country with a conservative majority, and many people add that is little liberal. In short, an ideological right.

Political parties and lexical details

It is an explanation that does not convince me. In the last thirty years, in Italy, we have witnessed the collapse and disappearance of the ideological parties par excellence such as the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party. On the other hand, we also witnessed the birth of new non-ideological political formations, such as the Lega and the Five Star movement, with little ideological and very pragmatic programs.

Even if today the Lega has canceled the word North from its denomination, the 80-90% of the votes it collects come from the north-central basin, of which it represents, and defends, the interests. How this can be reconciled with the fact that the word Italy is present in the denomination of the other two right-wing is a question that I leave suspended. Moreover, it amazes me that such a lexical detail has not intrigued at least some journalists so far.

Again: the Lega is substantially anti-European, the Fratelli d’Italia is strongly critical of the European institutions, and Forza Italia is strongly pro-European. Therefore, these positions are irreconcilable. This alliance, in my opinion unnatural, involved, on one side, the support of Forza Italia for the majority of the government of Ursula von der Leyen; on the other side, it involved the contrary vote of the Lega of Matteo Salvini and of the Fratelli d’Italia of Giorgia Meloni.

Recent history

It is correct to note that the political elections of 2018 created an important turning point in the management of public affairs, with the Five Star movement being the most voted, although not the winner. The surprise was great and general. In fact, the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella tried to entrust the task to a technician for the establishment of a government. However, after the rejection of the parties represented in parliament, the task was given to Giuseppe Conte, chosen by the Five Star movement. The creation of a majority was first proposed and sought with the Democratic Party, which refused. Therefore, in the same way, the Lega of Matteo Salvini was approached, but the Lega accepted. All this always and correctly according to the constitutional rules in force.

The new government was born on a limited but shareable program, formalized in a sort of contract, and remained in office from June 2018 to the end of August 2019. In just over a year it has carried out important and useful reforms for the country, in the pure interest of Italian citizens, both those of the North with Quota 100 and the security decrees, and those of the South with the dignity decree, the citizen’s income and the anti-corruption decree. Two political forces, one voted mainly in the center-north of the country, the other mainly in the center-south, decide to form a government that actually contained two. It was the first time this had happened since 1860, the date of the formal birth of the country. If this new and extraordinary form of government had lasted over time, it would have been preparatory to the consolidation of unity of the country that was never really achieved.

Information and governance of Rome

All the dominant “interests” since 1860 have got in the way, frightened. The press and the television which, at times, rhetorically we imagine as a third power, with rare exceptions, see “Il Fatto Quotidiano,” immediately rowed against this government, targeting above all the Five Star movement, which is the main protagonist of this special and not very controllable event. In some cases, such as in Rome against the mayor Virginia Raggi, the attacks become brutal, continuous, vulgar, and obsessive.

A shameful page of Italian journalism. After almost five years, Mayor Raggi is about to conclude its first mayoral and she reapplied for a second term. She wasn’t an amateur mayor who did her best. She was a mayor her did better, much better than the previous mayors. The city that was handed over to her was in debt, corrupt, where forms of organized underworld were developing like cancer.

For a year they charged her for the potholes of the city’s streets, about eight thousand kilometres, that for some were without maintenance for 20 years. Never reported, not even by journalists living in Rome. Also, for the city service buses, old and often on fire in roman streets, they were not even mentioned that they had not been renewed for several decades. Today, after about five years of Raggi’s mayorship, five hundred new buses run in Rome.

The polls and Conte governments

I would now like to return to a reflection on the polls. We know that they are not a rule foreseen by our constitutional order. However, they are treated as if they were by “information”. For two years, discussions have been more about polls than real things: the former not only influence voters but also the institutions and the people who make them up. And the transition from improper polling to undemocratic drift is short.

The work “well done” of the first and second Conte government would seem to collect stones instead of fruits, based on year-end polls. It is evident that public opinions are not properly informed or simply misinformed; and the press keeps the Five Stars under observation because of the key roles they play. Just over one year, the first Conte government, the yellow-green one (Five Star movement plus The League) fell by the decision of The League (Lega) and was replaced by a yellow-pink government (Five Star Movement, Pd, Leu, Italia Viva). The fall was caused by the 2019 European election results, which overturned the results of the 2018 general election. With the League at 34% we remember the reaction of Matteo Salvini who, from the “Papeete” of Milano Marittima, claimed full power.

From the European elections to today

In truth, after the European elections two very important things had happened: the new European government led by Ursula von der Leyen had been formed, that in parliament achieved a majority of the votes thanks to the happy political intuition of the Five Star Movement to vote in favour (meanwhile The League voted against). Happy intuition that, combined with the negotiating skills of our Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, led to a change of course in European politics and as a result very positive for the Italian country. In addition, the Bonafede reform was ready, Minister for Justice, with the new legislation on prescription.

The result obtained in the European elections by the League has been greatly reduced, in favour of Giorgia Meloni’s party, which calls for early elections rather than presenting a serious centre-right program. But the right to call for new elections is subject to the lack of a parliamentary majority capable of supporting the government, circumstance which so far is absent. It is as if in the United States of America, the elected President is being questioned after losing the mid-term elections, as has often been the case.

In conclusion: on the basis of current surveys, the next political elections, which should be held in 2023, will be won by the centre-right. It’s worth noting, however, that Nando Pagnoncelli, curator of these analyses for  Corriere della Sera, interviewed by the same newspaper, reminds us that polls are not “an oracle”, they represent a snapshot of the current situation, not the prediction of the final outcome. Who will live, will see.