When more than half of the voters do not vote in the big cities, and the national turnout figure stands at 54%, everyone loses, even those who won the race in this first round of the local elections. There will be plenty of time for in-depth analysis of the political geography of the country as seen from the results, and what the impact on the parties and the government will be.
But there are three very simple messages that are already very clear.
The first, and by far the most prominent, is that this is the lowest turnout ever. And then—and this is the second message of the vote—notwithstanding the historical and increasing gap between those who govern and those who are governed, in these administrative elections, the parties, especially those of the center-right, have run third-party candidates, testifying, in addition to the problems of a coalition without a leader, to the crisis of a ruling class that has inflated abstentionism, especially on the part of the Lega.
Of course, non-voting also concerns the center-left, with the PD without heartland support, strong only in the historic centers, and the M5S sinking to the bottom, with a dramatic result for those who still represent one of the biggest forces in Parliament. They lost the most important race, that for the capital, with the dignified but sound defeat of now-former mayor Raggi.
However, while the candidates are shouldering the burden, we must also ask ourselves why an ordinary citizen, who has seen all the parties mingle together in the government of an economist who is leading the country on autopilot, would suddenly be passionate about an electoral competition.
Also for this reason, Secretary Letta’s satisfaction with the result of the PD, “on the same wavelength as the country,” and with the vote in general, “which strengthens Draghi,” is understandable, but far from reassuring in the face of the presence of merely half of a full democracy.
Finally, the third obvious element that the ballot results gave us is a positive one: it says that those who went to vote enacted the defeat of the center-right and rewarded the first manifestations of unity of the center-left, as in Naples and Bologna (Milan is a unique case).
This is a political sign for the future: right-wingers can be beaten only if they are facing a coalition of unified center-left forces.