Elections in Italy are coming up soon: February 24-25.Given the political progress has made in shedding the Berlusconi era (to some extent) this election is being watched with some trepidation to see if Italy slides in one direction or another.
According to a note from Morgan Stanley’s Daniele Antonucci, there seems to be pretty solid support for a centre-Left coalition. Peter Luigi Bersani would hold a comfortable lead over the coalition associated with Silvio Berlusconi.
An interesting part of the note is where Antonucci discusses the “Ohio” of Italy:
The Senate battleground… Out of 315 assigned seats, the regions with the highest number are Lombardy (49) and Lazio (28), where regional elections will be held in February, as well as the southern regions of Campania (29) and Sicily (25), and the northern region of Veneto (24), traditionally a North League stronghold – which has formalised a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s PdL. The Senate, therefore, is the chamber of parliament in which the vote is more uncertain, partly because of the way the election law has been designed (i.e., a majority premium is assigned on a regional basis) and partly because of the PdL-North League coalition, which might win votes in Veneto and other northern regions.
…and ‘Italy’s Ohio’: Lombardy, by far Italy’s biggest region in terms of assigned seats in the Senate, is the region to watch. Faring well there might be so decisive for the election that some commentators are comparing it with Ohio in the US recent elections. But Lombardy’s economy also accounts for about 20% of Italy’s GDP. As such, one might also compare it with California, from an economic standpoint. Even though there aren’t specific polls on Italy’s Senate, the regional polls might help us gauge the political situation. While we keep monitoring it, at this stage, there’s no single party/coalition with a clear lead.
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