Roundtable: "Italy in a world of uncertainty and change: getting to grips with the general election of 2018"

Room: 
Room E, City Hall
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 28th March 13:30 - 15:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Arianna Giovannini (De Montfort University)
Panel Members: 
  • Professor James Newell (University of Salford)
  • Dr Simona Guerra (University of Liecester)
  • Dr Davide Vampa (Aston University)
  • Professor Anna Bull (University of Bath)

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The Italian general election of 2018 looks set to be one of the most uncertain and at the same time dramatic contests in the country’s history, coming as it does against the background of a new electoral law; sustained and growing support for the populist Five-star Movement, and other ‘populist revolts’ elsewhere (one thinks, here, of the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump in the US, the surprise outcome of the 2017 general election in the UK and now, the events in Catalonia). Simulations carried out by mapping current voting intentions as revealed by surveys onto the corresponding seat distributions that would result from applying the new electoral law suggest the absence of a parliamentary majority for any party or coalition though the Five-star Movement is currently the most-supported party. The outcome of post-election coalition negotiations in such circumstances will be highly unpredictable; though with the Five-star Movement emerging as the largest formation – while being almost certainly unwilling to coalesce with other parties to form a majority – a continuation of political instability, of widespread anti-political sentiments and of weakness of the country’s political parties seems almost inevitable.

In this context, the Italian Politics Specialist group wishes to host a roundtable on an electoral contest which must take place early next year, at the end of the current legislature’s term, and which will therefore roughly coincide with the Cardiff conference itself. Either because it will have just taken place, or because it will be due to take place shortly, the election will be dominating headlines (in Italy, of course, and, given the current international context, abroad as well). This roundtable will thus provide a timely forum for discussion, with inputs from leading experts, on the distinctive features of the campaign, the outcome and implications of this momentous political event.

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