26 Feb-2 Mar 2018

Will this weekend's elections make room for the new left?

General election will be held in Italy this Sunday. Among the old protagonists of Italian politics (including the immortal Berlusconi) and the neo-fascists, a new force has emerged -- Power To the People, a left-wing movement led by a woman.

Cinzia Sciuto
Cinzia Sciuto MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
Will this weekend's elections make room for the new left?
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Viola Carofalo. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

For a long time now, the sentiment dominating Italian perspective on politics has been that of disillusionment. The widely acknowledged crisis of democracy is above all a crisis of representation and trust in institutions.

People have given up on politics believing that they do not affect their lives, that those who have little are destined to have even less, while the privileged continue to thrive.

Many people see politics as driven by the same laws as nature, where the strongest always win.

However, with the Sunday election comes a gleam of hope -- a new political party Power To the People (Potere al Popolo), born only a few weeks ago. It was established by a group of young social activists from Naples, which is one of the most difficult areas in Italy.

If Power to the People manages to overcome the election threshold of 3%, it will create the miracle of bringing the young, left-oriented voters back to the polls. These have thus far retained a conviction that true political work is done on the streets, not in parliament.

Just like their leader, Viola Carofalo, a young teacher and a precarian, who has never voted in her life. The fact that she is the only female leader of a left-wing party is also telling. While the support for gender equality is on everyone's agenda, when it comes to sharing power, women are still underrepresented.

The decision of Power to the People to name Viola Carofalo as their leader is therefore doubly significant -- she is a woman and a precarian. One of the people.

Sunday will show if voters take this rare opportunity to transform the Italian political scene.

politics, women's issues, gender

Details from the story:

  • On Sunday, March 4, Italians will vote in parliamentary elections.
  • The main forces in the field are: the center-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, allied with the xenophobic right-wing parties Lega Nord and Fratelli d'Italia; the center-left coalition led by the Renzi Democratic Party; the 5 Star Movement.
  • Also running are minor groups such as the neo-fascists of Casapound and two left-wing lists: Free and Equal (Liberi e uguali) and Power To the People.
  • The non-coalitions must exceed 3% to enter the parliament.
  • According to the latest polls, the most probable scenario after the election involves either a central-right government or a broad coalition between Forza Italia and Pd.
  • Most likely, the 5 Star Movement will win. However, since they refuse to ally themselves with anyone, it will be a challenge for them to form a government.
  • Hence, among various hypotheses, another election is a possibility.
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