World
Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:25
Italians Head to Polls in Crucial Test for Coalition Government Following Pandemic
TEHRAN (FNA)- Italians are heading to the polls this weekend for regional elections, and to vote on changes to the constitution, in what is seen as a key test of public support for the government after the country was ravaged by the coronavirus.

Italians will be voting on September 20-21 for the presidency of seven regions (Tuscany, Valle d’Aosta, Liguria, Marche, Apulia, Veneto and Campania) as well as in a long-awaited constitutional referendum on whether to reduce the number of members of parliament from 945 to 600, a move that analysts expect to be approved with little fanfare, CNBC reported.

It’s the regional elections — that will see 35% of Italy’s electorate go to the polls — that are more unpredictable, according to experts.

Four out of seven regions — Apulia, Marche, Tuscany and Campania — are currently governed by the center-left Partito Democratico (PD), the party currently in a national coalition government with the Five Star Movement (M5S) and junior partner, Italia Viva. 

Italy’s economy has been hit hard (the Bank of Italy forecasts a decline in GDP of around 9.5% for 2020) and the elections would also be seen as a test of the strength for the right-wing opposition, led by Lega.

“The elections are unlikely to trigger a political crisis, and our base case is that the government will remain in power after the vote. That said, we believe the event is a headline risk to its stability,” Luca Pennarola, European economist, and Eric Oynoyan, senior G-10 rates strategist, at BNP Paribas said in a note Wednesday.

“Although there is no constitutional requirement for the government to hold a majority in regional governments, these elections have sparked political crises in the past,” they added.

Particular attention is being paid to the regional election in Tuscany, formerly a PD stronghold, as it is seen as a bellwether for support for the anti-immigration Lega party under Matteo Salvini. The vote is currently too close to call, polls suggest. BNP Paribas’ analysts noted that a loss for the PD could have repercussions on the leadership of the party.

Being on the sidelines of government has not hurt Lega’s popularity which has grown considerably under Salvini’s controversial leadership. The party is looking to consolidate or extend its power base further in the forthcoming votes and can build on a strong foundation: In the regions going to the polls, Lega currently holds the presidency in Veneto, and its candidate who heads up a center-right coalition is expected to retain the leadership there, predictions show.

Meanwhile in Liguria, a center-right party (Cambiamo) which is in a coalition with Lega currently holds office and is expected to retain the presidency. The other region going to the polls, Valle d’Aosta, is currently governed by a regionalist alliance (and no voter polls are available ahead of the election).

Characterizing the regional elections and constitutional referendum as “double trouble”, analysts at Barclays led by Ludovico Sapio said in a note Thursday that “while polls suggest the government will fare fairly well, a ‘home run’ scenario by the right-wing cannot be entirely ruled out”.

“A ‘Yes’ outcome at the referendum and a balanced result at the regional elections (with PD winning in Tuscany) would signal that the governing coalition is alive, kicking and likely to dodge the risk of fresh elections until, at least, the end of 2021,” they said.

“Neglecting the elections in Valle d’Aosta, for which peculiar rules apply and surveys on voting intentions are unavailable, polls suggest the more likely scenario is a balanced result at the six remaining regional votes,” they noted.

This balance, as well as a majority of the public approving constitutional changes “would foster the longevity of the yellow-red coalition government as both PD and M5S would cash in a victory”, they noted.

However, they said, a “No” outcome at the referendum and a sound defeat by PD in four or more of the regions, particularly if the party loses Tuscany, is “likely to have some repercussions for the governing coalition”.

“This would more likely materialize in a government reshuffle, possibly in favour of a broader coalition, rather than in new elections,” they added.

 

 

 

 

Bottom top
‘Washington Has No Idea About Who It Deals with': Erdogan Brushes Off US Criticism over S-400

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that Ankara does not intend to abandon the S-400 missile systems purchased from Russia.
‘Rigged Election?’ Trump Seizes on Biden's Latest Gaffe, Boasting About 'Most Extensive, Inclusive VOTER FRAUD' Organization

TEHRAN (FNA)- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's remark that his party has created “the most extensive voter fraud organization” has reinforced the former VP’s “gaffe-machine” status, giving the Republicans a free gotcha moment.
Iran Reports 6,191 New COVID-19 Cases

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry announced on Sunday that 6,191 new cases of coronavirus infection have been reported across the country during the past 24 hours, adding that 296 patients have passed away in the same period of time.
GC Spokesman: Iran Not Interested in US Presidential Election

TEHRAN (FNA)- Spokesman of Iran’s Guardian Council Abbasali Kadkhodayee underlined that the Islamic Republic is not interested in interfering in the US presidential election, and blasted the media hype by the West in this regard.
Pakistan PM: French President Encouraged Islamophobia

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Pakistani prime minster added his voice to the growing criticism of the French president for "encouraging Islamophobia" following the killing of a teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to his pupils.
Biden Gains as Suburban Women, Elderly Voters Look to Dump Trump

TEHRAN (FNA)- Joe Biden’s hopes of reaching the White House could rest on two crucial demographic groups that appear to be deserting President Donald Trump: elderly people and suburban women.
Iranian Army Conducts Military Drills along Northwestern Borders

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Army Ground Force units staged a one-day drill along the country's Northwestern border regions on Sunday.
Iran Calls for Broadening of Bilateral Ties with Bolivia

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for the expansion of mutual cooperation with Bolivia in different fields.
Officials: Top al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Eastern Afghanistan

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior al-Qaeda commander has been killed by Afghan security forces in the central city of Ghazni, security officials said.
COVID-19: Italy Reports Highest Single-Day Spike

TEHRAN (FNA)- Italy reported 19,644 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest single-day spike since the start of the pandemic.
IRGC Commander Warns against Geopolitical Border Change in Regions Around Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Islamic Revolution Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said any threat that harms people’s security and calm will receive Iran’s countermeasure, but further warned that his country would not tolerate any change in the geopolitical borders in regions close to Iran.
Palestinian Groups Condemn Macron’s Defense of Anti-Islam Cartoons

TEHRAN (FNA)- Palestinian resistance groups based in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip have blasted French President Emmanuel Macron for defending offensive cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Iran Condemns Terrorist Attack in Afghanistan

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh condemned a terrorist attack in Afghanistan, saying that the Afghan students have fallen victim to the ugly violence and unending war they had never chosen.
Iran: Arbitrary Detention of Palestinians by Israel Should Stop

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the Zionist regime’s unjust imprisonment of hundreds of Palestinians, urging the immediate release of hunger striker Maher Al-Akhras.
350kg of Opium Seized in Central Iran in 4 Operations

TEHRAN (FNA)- Police forces of the Central Province of Yazd confiscated 350 kg of illegal drugs in four separate operations, according to the local police commander Brigadier General Abbas Ali Behdani Fard.