Some 10 million Italians were called to vote on June 11 for a first round of municipal elections – an important test that sounded an alarm for the Five Star Movement party, which completely changed the country’s political panorama just a few years ago. This time round, the Beppe Grillo‘s “creation” will not take part in any second round in the most important provincial capitals.
In Parma, where the anti-euro Five Star Movement had started “conquering” the first important cities, the loss was big. Mayor Pizzarotti, whose election had been celebrated by Grillo’s party back in 2012, led the voting again – only this time without the Five Star Movement. Pushing his own political movement, Pizzarotti took the lead in the first election round.
The situation was even worse in Genova, Grillo’s native city. The Five Star Movement, due to some internal quarrels in the choice of the candidate for mayor, finished in third place with less than 20% of the votes.
In the end, the Five Star Movement made it to the second election round in only eight of the 140 cities. The other dramatically surprising fact is the vertical fall of Grillo’s movement everywhere: 4,81% in L’ Aquila, 6,05% in Catanzaro, 3,18% in Parma and 9,52% in Verona.
Just as alarming is the outcome in the northern cities where the Five Star Movement was able to attract some unhappy centre-right voters, especially from the Northern League.
The northern SME’s were very enthusiastic a few years ago. but now as very pragmatic people they immediately detected that something was not functioning in Grillo’s power and management scheme. In other words, he lacks concrete results.
The new scenario could make it possible to relaunch the “hated” bipolar system: centre-right vs centre-left.
Liguria President Toti of the Forza Italia party and the Northern League’s Secretary Matteo Salvini were right saying that if the CR coalition is united, it can still win everywhere.
If this is true at the local level, in the national game the differences between Silvio Berlusconi, who leads Forza Italia, and Salvini are still very important. Even if Berlusconi, known as the “Cavaliere” would be a better choice for the “old “ally instead of hoping for an unlikely marriage with Renzi’s Democratic Party.
On the other hand, Matteo Renzi is trying to capture a big voter reservoir called Giuliano Pisapia, with the new movement Campo Progressista. Doing this, the former PM – after having humiliated his former centrist ally Angelino Alfano – thinks to break the far leftists’ front to reach the dream objective of the 40%.
It is rather curious to see in the same day Italy and France moving in two opposite directions with France dismissing the old traditional parties for a new and more fresh idea of politics.
The latest opinion polls suggest that nobody would have imagined a disaster like this even if the mismanagement of Mayors Virgina Raggi in Rome and Chiara Appendino in Turin are a clear signal that this new and dynamic movement was not ready to take the challenge. The lack of management went together with some important internal fights culminated most of the time with unjustified “expulsions”.
Another big mistake was the idea to form a political group with the EU liberals, the catastrophic result was a return to the old ally Brexit MEP Nigel Farage.
On the other hand, the centre-right was able, with a very intelligent restyling to attract fresh political competent figures which are going to constitute the back-bone of a new alliance. Also, the Democratic Party is seen, after the congress, able to express a solid leader who was able with the split of the Bersani group, to position the PD in a more centrist area than before. For sure as Grillo said, the Five Star Movement remains competitive, but now the movement needs a serious U-turn in order to analyse concretely the reason of the defeat.
Is the on-line democracy efficient? Is there a real open dialogue inside the movement? Are all the candidates selected in the best possible way? A “process” in the movement is started for sure and we will see if after that the result will be relaunching completely in the arena Renzi and Berlusconi who we erroneously thought were out of the game.