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Saturday, December 3, 2022

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19.21 percent had voted by noon: Little crowds in fateful elections in Italy

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Clouds from north to south, sometimes extremely cool and wet: That didn’t stop the Italians from voting this Sunday. In Italy it is also traditionally bathing weather that dampens the desire for democracy. “Tutti al mare”, “Everybody go to the sea” is the battle cry of those who want to bring down unpopular referendums through low participation or who expect advantages for their own party through a large number of non-voters.

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However, the figures announced by the Ministry of the Interior in Rome at noon did not reveal an influx that could be expected in such a decisive election: By then, around a fifth of those eligible to vote had cast their votes, 19.21 percent, roughly the same turnout like in the last election in 2018, when 19.43 percent of the citizens had already voted at that time.

The favorite is a long time coming

Among them were a number of top people from the Italian parties early on: President Sergio Mattarella made his way early on. He is Sicilian and voted at 9 am in Palermo, where an applauding crowd was already waiting for him in front of the polling station. This Sunday Sicily not only elects the two chambers of parliament in Rome, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The regional assembly of the island, comparable to a German state parliament, will also be redefined.

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Cameramen and journalists will have to wait a long time for the favorite of this election. Giorgia Meloni, the party leader of the post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia, announced that she would only go to her Roman polling station after 10 p.m. She justified this by saying that she wanted to give the other voters peace of mind when casting their votes. A large number of media people had gathered in front of the polling station early on.

“Go vote, then you can complain too”

Meloni’s party is given the best chance of becoming the strongest party. Then she would be the most likely successor to interim prime minister Mario Draghi. Draghi himself was not democratically elected, but appointed by President Mattarella in the spring of last year after the Conte government had to resign after Matteo Renzi’s party had withdrawn its confidence.

Renzi was previously head of the Social Democrats (PD) and now leads the small party Italia viva. A few weeks ago, the “Five Stars” brought down Draghi. Their party leader is Giuseppe Conte, Draghi’s predecessor as prime minister, who was previously overthrown.

This Sunday, all parties again called on Italians to vote. Beppe Sala, the Social Democrat mayor of Milan, addressed young people in particular: “The right to vote is really important. I’ve enjoyed using it since I was eighteen. My appeal is therefore: Go vote. Then you also have a greater right to complain afterwards.”

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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