Election results: Italian communal elections 2017

Yesterday’s second round of voting in Italian communal elections saw significant gains for Centre Right coalitions within which Forza Italia and the Lega Nord (Northern League) played leading roles. Centre Left forces based around the Partito Democratico (PD) lost control of more than 30 towns and cities. ‘Civic Lists’, usually comprising local independent politicians, did well, nearly doubling the number of significant Mayoralties – those with over 15,000 inhabitants – under their control.

For the populist Five Star Movement, disappointment was inevitable after they failed to reach more than a handful of second-round contests. They increased the number of major town halls under their control from two to eight, but did not win any of the biggest 25 cities (provincial and regional capitals) being contested, losing Parma which had been their only outpost in this category.


Town hall, Belluno, Veneto, Italy. Photo: Andrew Cornwell. All rights reserved.


Among those 25, the Centre Right tipped the political balance on its head, advancing from 6 Mayoralties to 16, while the Centre Left slumped from 15 to 6. A long list of gains for the Centre Right included L’Aquila, Piacenza, Asti, Pistoia, La Spezia and Monza – and most notably Genova, arguably the most significant city up for grabs. Parma was taken by a Civic List, while Belluno (town hall pictured above) was retained by another. In Trapani in Sicily, a special Commissioner will run municipal affairs following the disqualification of one candidate for suspected corruption and the failure of the remaining one to reach the required turnout threshold.

With previous Centre forces having largely joined the Centre Right coalition, it was no surprise to see their nominal losses. Meanwhile the Right lost control of Verona, its only major stronghold being contested, but advanced elsewhere. The Italian Left made no real impact.

On top of the 160 major communes voting, another 844 smaller places chose new local governments under a simplified majority system. The composition of this electorate is one reason why drawing national electoral conclusions from the results should be approached with caution:

  • Italy’s biggest cities, including Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin and Venice did not go to the polls…
  • …and nor did many smaller rural communes.
  • The 9.2 million eligible voters represent just under a fifth of the approximately 47 million-strong Italian electorate.
  • Most significantly, the local government electoral system favours those forces able to work in coalitions: this was the main driver of Five Star’s poor first round showing compared to its continuing neck-and-neck status with the PD in national opinion polling.

Having said all that, the message for Rome’s ruling PD and its re-emerged leader Matteo Renzi is not very encouraging. And the great unknown for Five Star is to what extent their results can be attributed to the hostile electoral system, and to what extent it stems from voter distaste for the new movement’s stumbling first steps in running Italian cities, most notably in the capital itself.


Control of major communes

Centre Left 55 (-33)
Centre Right 47 (+13)
Civic Lists 39 (+20)
Five Star Movement 8 (+6)
Right 7 (+3)
Left 2 (nc)
Centre 1 (-8)
Others 0 (-1)
Special Commissioner 1

Total: 160 communes with population over 15,000


Key city results

L’Aquila – Centre Right 53.5%, Centre Left 46.5%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left

Catanzaro – Centre Right 64.4%, Centre Left 35.6%
Centre Right hold

Parma – Civic List 57.9%, Centre Left 42.1%
Civic List gain from Five Star Movement
Piacenza – Centre Right 58.5%, Centre Left 41.5%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left

Fruili Venezia Giulia
Gorizia – Centre Right 59.8%, Centre Left 40.2%
Centre Right hold

Frosinone – Centre Right 56.4%, Centre Left 27.3%, Five Star 7.1%, Others 9.3%
Centre Right hold, elected on first round
Rieti – Centre Right 50.2%, Centre Left 49.8%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left

Genova – Centre Right 55.2%, Centre Left 44.8%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left
La Spezia – Centre Right 60%, Centre Left 40%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left

Como – Centre Right 52.7%, Centre Left 47.3%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left
Lodi – Centre Right 56.9%, Centre Left 43.1%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left
Monza – Centre Right 51.3%, Centre Left 48.7%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left

Asti – Centre Right 54.9%, Five Star Movement 45.1%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left
Cuneo – Centre Left 59.6%, Centre Right 14%, Others 26.3%
Centre Left gain from Centre, elected on first round

Lecce – Centre Left 54.8%, Centre Right 45.2%
Centre Left gain from Centre Right
Taranto – Centre Left 50.9%, Centre Right 49.1%
Centre Left hold

Oristano – Centre Right 65.3%, Centre Left 34.7%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left

Palermo – Centre Left 46.3%, Centre Right 31.%, Five Star Movement 16.3%, Others 6.3%
Centre Left hold, elected on first round
Trapani – Special Commissioner to be appointed due to insufficient turnout
Centre Right loss to Special Commissioner control

Lucca – Centre Left 50.5%, Centre Right 49.5%
Centre Left hold
Pistoia – Centre Right 54.3%, Centre Left 45.7%
Centre Right gain from Centre Left

Belluno – Civic List 1 63.15%, Civic List 2 36.85%
Civic List hold
Padova – Centre Left 51.8%, Centre Right 48.2%
Centre Left gain from Centre Right
Verona – Centre Right 58.1%, Civic List 41.2%
Centre Right gain from Right


Turnout first round (11 June): 60.07%
Turnout second round (18 June): 46.03%
Eligible voters: 9,172,026 in 1004 communes in first round
4,304,739 in 111 communes with over 15,000 population in second round

Sources: Ministero dell’Interno, La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera.



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