The A to Z of the Italian general election

In the frenzied debate ahead of next Sunday’s 25 in Italian general election, it is easy to lose track. The war in Ukraine, presidentialism, the flat tax, expensive bills, soaring cost of living, the candidacies of virologists and … the zombies – are just some of the thousand facets of the 2022 Italian electoral campaign, which is giving a debate full of proposals, controversies and curiosities.

So, TGCom24 has prepared an alphabet to orient us in this labyrinth…

A for DRAGHI’S AGENDA – One cannot fail to start with the outgoing premier and his government agenda, more or less markedly recalled by the Democratic Party, Action Party and Italia Viva. But what does it broadly foresee? The completion of the PNRR (Italian acronym for National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the document that Italy prepared to access the funds of the Next Generation EU), the reform of the procurement and competition code, taxation and collection, justice, minimum wage, push on renewables, changes to the Citizenship Income and the Superbonus and support for Ukraine.

B as BILLS – The increases in electricity and gas bills were recorded even before the war in Ukraine, which further inflamed the commodity markets. And that’s not all: the Italian Energy Authority (Arera) has already estimated increases of over 100% in the autumn. It goes without saying that all parties agree on the need for urgent measures to counter the price increases, including long-term strategies such as investments in clean energy in the programmes.

C for COLLEGI – Italians still vote with the Rosatellum (a parallel voting system which acts as a mixed system, with 37% of seats allocated using a first past the post electoral system and 61% using a proportional method, with one round of voting). But there is a substantial difference compared to the 2018 elections: the parliamentarians to be elected have in fact gone down from 945 to 600 (of which 400 in the Chamber and 200 in the Senate) after the approval of the 2020 constitutional referendum. This has led to a change in the constituencies: with the new rule, the single-member ones (assigned with the majority system) are 221, while the pluri-nominal ones (assigned with the proportional system) are 367. To these are added the 12 constituencies reserved for deputies and senators elected abroad. The total, in fact, is 600.

 D as RIGHT OF COURT – The Democratic Party proposed it to the allies of the Italian Left and the Greens, who however refused. The term “right of tribune” means the inclusion of some candidates from minor lists in a list to which they do not belong, but which has a better chance of entering Parliament. In this way, even the smallest parties can have their own representative in the Chamber.

E as in ELECTORÇa va sans dire. You can launch as many proposals as you want, but in the end it is the voters who decide. However, the spectre of absenteism hovers over next Sunday’s vote, exorcised several times by the leaders with the same warning: whoever does not appear at the polls benefits the opponent.

F as FLAT TAX – Among the 15 points on which the shared programme of the center-right is based, the flat tax also occupies a leading position in the statements of the leaders. Berlusconi has proposed a “flat tax” of 23% for everyone, families and businesses, which over time may even reach 15% (as Salvini wants). Meloni, on the other hand, would first like to apply the flat tax on incremental income and then think about a possible extension.

G as YOUTH – For the first time, new adults will also be able to vote for the Senate. Until now, you had to be 25 years old to receive the ballot paper for Palazzo Madama. But despite the fact that the audience of voters has been extended by almost four million, young people represent the biggest unknown factor for abstention.

H as HABITAT – Abnormal heat waves, fires, droughts, floods and other extreme weather events are putting a strain on Italy’s already fragile environment. And if all the parties in their programmes refer to climate change , the M5s has put the date of 2050 directly into its symbol, the year by which the EU wants to achieve climate neutrality, that is, to become an economy with zero net emissions. of greenhouse gases.

 I for INFLATION – Democratic Party’s Enrico Letta defined it as “the worst enemy, the most unequal tax that affects the weak”. Inflation is in fact eroding the income and savings of Italians, and the next government will have to take adequate counter-measures. Some leaders, such as Berlusconi and Di Maio, have proposed the same recipe: the zeroing of VAT on basic necessities such as bread, pasta or milk. Others, such as Calenda, instead focus on an additional tax-free monthly payments.

L like WORK – It is inevitable that the issue of work assumes a primary role in the programmes of the various camps. If the cutting of the tax wedge is the intention of all parties, on other issues the paths diverge: the minimum wage does not appear in the programme of the centre-right, the flat tax in that of the centre-left and the M5s. And the Citizenship Income? It must be “re-calibrated” for the Democratic Party, “strengthened” for the M5s, “replaced with more effective measures” for Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d’Italia and “eliminated after the first refusal of a suitable job offer” for Italia Viva and Action.

M as MIGRANTS – Among the most divisive issues, the migrant issue is tackled by the sides with very different tones. Salvini dusted off the security decrees, Meloni spoke of a “naval blockade” and Berlusconi called for a “humane but rigorous policy”. Letta – who wants an agreement between European countries for a widespread form of reception – instead stressed that the real migratory emergency are “the hundreds of thousands of Italian children who go abroad forever”.

N as NUCLEAR – The return to the electoral campaign has also rekindled the debate on nuclear power, which had already returned to vogue at the beginning of July with the inclusion of this energy source in the European taxonomy of eco-sustainable activities. The centre-right wants to focus on fourth-generation nuclear power, with Salvini even evoking a power plant in the Milanese district of Baggio. Favourable position also for Italia Viva and Action, against the centre-left and the M5s.

O as in OPPOSITION – The only party (or almost) to sit in the opposition of the Draghi government could, according to the polls, be the revelation of the 2022 elections victory – Fratelli d’Italia… with the possibility that Giorgia Meloni would become Italy’s first female prime minister.

P as PNRR – the name of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan, aiming at transforming the country and leaving a valuable legacy to future generations – thus empowering a more solid, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Its fate is a question mark. With the elections it is more complicated to meet the deadlines contained in the plan, with the risk of losing future UE funding. Among the objectives to be achieved by December 31 there are projects related to tax evasion, justice, cybersecurity and transport. And the declared intention of the centre-right to propose a revision of the plan has already sent Letta into alarm, who defined this hypothesis as an act of “self-harm, of sabotage”.

Q as QUIRINALE – Meloni has relaunched the idea of ​​presidentialism, which provides for the direct election of the head of state. To do this Italy needs a constitutional reform, already advocated by Fratelli d’Italia in 2018. Based on that text, it would be more correct to speak of French-style semi-presidentialism, given that the figure of the prime minister and the possibility for the Chambers to vote would remain distrust of the government.

R as CITIZENSHIP INCOME – A symbolic measure of the Conte government, it has long been under the magnifying glass of Lega and Forza Italia, who wanted to change it in a profound way, with the contrary opinion of the M5s. Maintaining this measure (without applying further restrictions) was part of Conte’s nine conditions to remain in the Draghi government. What then happened is known to all, and now it is a topic of confrontation in the electoral campaign.

S like SUPERBONUS – Measure introduced by the Conte II government to improve the energy efficiency of buildings or reduce their seismic risk, the Superbonus of 110% has been repeatedly criticized by Draghi, resulting in irritation (and then tearing) by the M5s. The outgoing premier reiterated his perplexities also in the speech in the Chamber before resigning, in which he thundered against the transfer mechanisms “designed without discrimination”. And now, with the new government at the gates, the Superbonus could be running out of time.

T as a WASTE-TO-ENERGY PLANT – It was one of the fundamental ingredients of the break between the M5s and Draghi, which led to the government crisis and therefore to the elections. With the approval of the aid to dyslexics, the commissioner powers of the mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri on waste management have become law. And so, against Conte’s opinion, the road to the waste-to-energy plant in the capital is paved.

U like UKRAINE – It may be overshadowed, at least in the media, thanks to the stalemate on the field and the political turbulence in Italy, but the war in Ukraine and relations with Russia polarise the electoral campaign to such an extent that Meloni, to dispel the doubts of observers and international institutions, made it clear that the Fratelli d’Italia are with Kiev and with NATO. Meanwhile, the former Russian President Medvedev, who called on Europeans to punish their “idiotic governments” at the polls, put fuel on the fire.

V as VIROLOGSTS – Italy has a long tradition of people far from the world of politics who have entered Parliament. In this election campaign the most talked about are the experts on the Covid pandemic, grouped, sometimes improperly, under the title of “virologists”. Andrea Crisanti and Pier Luigi Lopalco take the field with the centre-left (the first with the Democratic Party, the second with Article One). And while Matteo Bassetti does not close the door to a possible appointment as Minister of Health, Roberto Burioni denies the rumours that he was wanted on the Dem lists.

Z like ZOMBIE – It is the term with which Beppe Grillo defined the exits from the M5s on social networks, collecting their faces in an album of stickers to ideally sell on newsstands. Among the best known names, in alphabetical order, there are Azzolina, Castelli, Crippa, Di Maio, D’Incà, Di Stefano and Sileri. The remaining “zombies” for the guarantor of the M5s are 63, for a total of 70.

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