The regional elections held in Italy on Sunday saw a marked advance by the hard-line parties, namely the Five Stars Movement and the Northern League. This was compensated by the crisis of Mr Berlusconi’s party, so Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was able to win in five Regions in seven anyhow.
However, there were some disturbing signals for his Government.
First of all, the turnout remained low, something which contradicts the enthusiastic rhetoric that Mr Renzi is trying to inject into Italian politics.
Secondly in the Venetian Region, perhaps the most rich and productive in the country, Mr Renzi’s candidate Alessandra Moretti was humiliatingly defeated by incumbent Governor Luca Zaia (Northern League) despite all the attempts by the Government to be business-friendly.
Thirdly the Democratic Party lost its stronghold of Liguria to an opaque lieutenant of Berlusconi due to the mutiny of its left wing.
Fourthly all the candidates belonging to the Prime Minister’s internal faction were defeated.
Fifthly Renzi’s winner in Campania, having been convicted for abuse of power, could be unable to take its post, and if he will that will be embarrassing anyway.
However, the real problem is that Mr Renzi is pushing for a new electoral law based on a runoff between the first and the second party. What if in the runoff the protest vote of the hard-line left, the hard-line right and the Five Stars Movement coagulates against Mr Renzi?