The turn-out was very high – 83.6%, up from 81.4% last time round. L’Unione’s votes break down as follows:
Left Democrats (DS) 17.5%
Rosa nel Pugno 2.5%
Comunisti Italiani & Greens 4.2%
Italy of Values 2.9%
Others in L’Unione 3.5%
Olive Tree (Left Democrats plus Margherita) 31.3%
Rifondazione Comunista 5.8%
Rosa nel pugno 2.6%
Comunisti Italiani 2.3%
Others in L’Unione 2.9%
Left Democrats: These used to be part of the CP but are now social democrats. Some of the former Socialist Party have ended up here.
Margherita: Used to be Christian Democrats and are now a sort of Catholic liberal group. Another ex-Christian Democrat grouping, the UDC, was part of Berlusconi’s coalition.
Rosa nel pugno: A new secularist liberal party, campaigning mostly on the “secular” ticket.
Italy of values: Anti-corruption, anti-tax evasion, etc.
It’s notable that Rifondazione got fewer votes for the Camera than for the Senate. There are several possible explanations:
1. the franchise for the Camera is over-18s, for the Senate over-25s: the Communist vote is ageing.
2. ticket-splitting — people voted for Prodi’s coalition in the Camera then for Rifondazione in the Senate as a “conscience”. 3. the united Olive Tree party made up of the Left Democrats and Margherita is more popular with voters than the two parties standing separately.
4. the Comunisti Italiani were on a joint list with the Greens, making Rifondazione the only straightforward Communist option for the Senate.
The right did well in the richer northern regions, around Milan (the financial capital) and Venice. Not surprisingly, though, their biggest vote came from Sicily. (Shame the “godfather” Provenzano was arrested after the elections rather than before.) The Alleanza Nazionale (ex-fascist party) slightly increased its share of the vote overall from 12 to 12.3%; the Union of the Centre (ex-Christian Democrats) had the biggest success on the right, more than doubling their vote to 6.8%. The Lega Nord (Northern League — calling for devolution for the rich north and viciously anti-immigration) gained slightly in percentage terms, up to 4.6%. Berlusconi’s own party, Forza Italia, lost out most, down from 29.4 to 23.7%.