The Italian left already decided months ago that it would rather lose than agree on a coalition | International

The victory of the right in Italy is due, naturally aside from the broad support it has achieved, to the fact that it has been able to correctly interpret the electoral law, which rewards coalitions, since it is easier for them to form one. They have done it and they have won, and the left has not. It was very clear that victory would go to whoever best applied this formula. Put even more simply: the division on the left has given victory to the right. With an equivalent grand coalition, the result would have been, at the very least, tighter in seats or could have given a different balance in each chamber. But the parties of the right-wing alliance (Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, Salvini’s Northern League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia) are separated by fewer things and have fewer red lines between them than their rivals. Not being able to come together, the parties on the left decided to lose months ago. They knew it would end like this, they only had to wait for a miracle, which as a tactic is quite risky. Or simply trust that the fear of the far right would do the job for them.

It is not new, already in 2001 the division of the left made possible the victory of Berlusconi’s coalition, with the same allies, the Northern League and National Alliance, the party where Meloni was and the predecessor of his. Then the phrase of the filmmaker Nanni Moretti, who had a press conference in Cannes the next day, became famous: “Berlusconi has thanked all the Italians for the victory, but it would have been enough for him to thank one, Fausto Bertinotti”. He was referring to the leader of Rifondazione Comunista, who preferred to go his own way and subtracted ultimately decisive votes from the left.

The results indicate that the mini-coalition that brought together the PD and has obtained 26% of the votes, actually adds up to 41% with the Five Star Movement (15%). This alliance, it is true, never came to be seriously on the table, between reproaches and mutual taunts for the fall of the Draghi Executive, but there was never a pragmatic realism up to the challenge, which was to avoid a triumph of the extreme right for the first time in history, as all the polls pointed out. It is also true that they are calculations that are made now, and in fact Cinco Estrellas has overcome the poor result that the polls gave it. Left-wing voters themselves are often so purist that they disdain alliances.

Instead, a coalition of the PD with the so-called Third Pole, the two center parties of Calenda and Renzi, was about to be forged, which have obtained 7%, also disappointing, as they expected to achieve a double-digit result. The problem is that the extremes of the left have vetoed each other, centrists against communists, and the leader of the PD, Enrico Letta, had a blanket that he could not stretch any more, or it covered his feet or his head, and in the end the center He was out. Calenda broke the pact the day after signing it, because Letta was negotiating with the extreme left and environmentalists to get them on board as well. They went up, but through another door the center got off.

With the Third Pole, the center-left would have added 33%, which is still far from the global percentage of the right, but in any case the difference is that it would have been a much more competitive coalition and the team would be more balanced. The battle in many schools would have been closer. The electoral system is the key: a third of the seats in the two chambers are assigned in schools where the first takes the seat. This scheme has been crucial and has greatly benefited Meloni’s coalition, which was simply the list with the most votes in those places, even though the sum of its rivals added more votes. Rivals that, if they had gone together, would have taken that seat. Much of Meloni’s victory is there. The example of Rome is very clear. There were 12 seats up for grabs under this system (9 for the Chamber of Deputies and 3 for the Senate), and the center-right coalition won 10. The two on the left come from constituencies where a PD candidate has achieved a major achievement, obtain by himself more votes than the candidate of the right, which adds those of three parties.

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The center-left, in opposition, now only has to wait for the right to fall into its same vice: hitting each other. And in Italy it should never be ruled out, as soon as a partner is interested. But, as was seen with Berlusconi in 2001, with a government that lasted almost four years and is the longest in Italy’s recent history, the glue of power is very strong, given the unique prospect in this country of governing nothing less that five years. The umpteenth electoral system, on the other hand, was designed for that: to form once and for all a government that could be stable and last. The right has understood it better.

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