These 2 charts explain what could happen in Italy's upcoming election

  • Italy’s general election is held on Sunday.
  • HSBC’s Fabio Balboni argues that polls point to no clear winner in both chambers of Italy’s parliament.
  • Two charts help illustrate what is going in the election, and what could happen.

With Italy’s general election now less than a week away, the outcome is no more clear than it has been in the months leading up to the vote.

The centre-left coalition of Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, the populist Five Star Movement, and the right wing bloc comprising Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the far-right Lega Nord could all end up running the Italian government in the coming weeks.

However, according to a note from HSBC circulated to clients this week, the most likely outcome in the election is a hung parliament, which could – in theory at least – lead to another election.

It seems likely, HSBC says, that Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition will be the biggest bloc, but will fall short of having enough seats in both houses of the Italian parliament to govern.

“According to polls, it should get about 36% of the votes (source: Termometropolico, 17 February). Populist party Five Star Movement (5SM) would get about 28% and the centreleft coalition, led by current ruling party Partito Democratico (PD), about 26%,” the note by Fabio Balboni says.

“The centre-right coalition, however, would still fall short of an absolute majority of seats in both houses of parliament. A possible grand-coalition – including PD, FI and all other centrist parties in the centre-right and centre-left coalition – would also fall short of a majority.”

The chart below shows how things stand according to the most recent polls – polls are banned in Italy in the immediate run-up to elections, so the latest data comes from February 17.

Italy election pollsHSBC

Should this hung parliament transpire, Balboni says, there will be several questions to ask on the morning of March 5.

“These are if the centre-right gets a majority of seats, and if so, who gets the most votes between Forza Italia and the Northern League,” he writes.

“If no one gets a majority, key will be whether the centrist mainstream parties have enough seats to be able to form a grand coalition (or ‘technical’ government, which to us means the same as the parties supporting it would be the same).”

Here’s Balboni’s chart:

Italy election flowchartHSBC

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